Paul Lawrie doubled his overnight lead in the early stages of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles final round, but Nicolas Colsaerts was running out of holes in his bid to claim an automatic Ryder Cup spot.
Needing a top-two finish, the 29 year old Belgian set off in search of "the best round of my career", but the opening stretch did not fit that description.
Colsaerts ran up a bogey six on the long second after a long search to find his ball in thick rough off the tee and dropped from 13th place to 21st.
He had to wait until the short sixth for his first birdie - an 18 foot putt there lifting him to 14th, but five strokes off where he had to be to elbow Martin Kaymer out of a Cup spot.
Scot Lawrie, already sure of his second cap, went two in front when nearest challenger Romain Wattel bunkered his approach to the first and bogeyed. Both then birdied the second.
Colsaerts converted a 30 foot chance at the seventh, but bogeyed the next two and with a disappointing front nine 37 had slipped into a tie for 20th.
At the top it became a Scottish one-two when Stephen Gallacher birdied the third and sixth to be two behind Lawrie and Wattel bogeyed the short fourth.
Down in 21st place with five holes remaining Colsaerts was surely resigned to requiring a wild card, while Lawrie continued his march towards the title with a two-putt birdie at the long ninth.
Wattel also made four there, though, to remain two behind, but Gallacher had bogeyed the eighth and was tied for third with Australian Brett Rumford.