Mark Foster took advantage of Ignacio Garrido’s poor front nine by regaining the lead midway through the final afternoon of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Locked together overnight, the former Ryder Cup player from Spain struck first with a 22 foot putt and then two putted the next for another birdie that took him to 13 under par and two in front.
However, the Englishman, seeking his first victory for eight years, levelled with an eagle on the second and took advantage of a Garrido bogey on the third to par the fourth and move a shot clear.
Things got worse for Garrido when another bogey on the fifth saw the Spaniard drop two shots behind and, despite a birdie on the next, bogies on the seventh and eighth saw him slip to 10 under and allowed Foster to move three clear on 13 under par.
Foster’s lead was cut to two shots as Dane Thomas Björn, through 11 holes, moved to 11 under par after birdies on the second, sixth, ninth and 11th, and Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal moved back in the mix after 10 holes following an eagle on the second and birdies on the ninth and tenth.
South African George Coetzee started his final round brightly, birdieing the first, and, despite a bogey on the third, four more birdies saw him in a strong position, three shots off the lead, but with only six holes to play.
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger’s progress was checked as he followed a birdie on the first with a bogey on the fourth but an eagle on the ninth saw him to ten under par.
Victor Dubuisson of France, who made a late surge up the leaderboard, birdieing the 14th and 17th and eagleing the 16th, finished with a final round five under par 67 and Stephen Gallacher, from Scotland, overcame a bogey on the first to make three birdies, including consecutively on the eighth and ninth, to move onto nine under par.
England’s Kenneth Ferrie, who shared the lead earlier this week, and Scotsman Marc Warren are both eight under par after 12 holes.
South African Jaco Van Zyl, who has shot 68, 73 and 72 this week, and England’s Gary Boyd finished seven under par following four under par last round 68’s, while Swedish pair Magnus Carlsson and Joel Sjöholm both slipped down the leaderboard after inconsistent starts to their final rounds.
Italian Lorenzo Gagli made three bogies and two birdies as he slipped to six under and Irishman Peter Lawrie’s chances of catching the leaders suffered a real blow with bogies on the first and third and a six on the four par fifth.
Englishman Richard Bland made an early surge to try and fight his way back into contention with four birdies in his first seven holes, but seven consecutive pars saw him stay on four under, while Argentina’s Tano Goya, who led the competition at one point during the second day, had birdies on the second and fourth but failed to make up ground.
Defending champion Edoardo Molinari will have to sacrifice his crown after shooting a fourth round 71, with bogies on the fifth, seventh and 13th overshadowing four birdies, and Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, playing his 555th European Tour event, ended with a two over par 74, putting him six over.