Joost Luiten mastered his nerves at Diamond Country Club to take a three shot lead into the final round of the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity.
The overnight leader admitted to feeling the heat early on as he saw his one shot advantage wrestled away from him first by Thomas Björn - whose 64 was the pick of the third round scores - and then Eduardo De La Riva.
Indeed, there was little to separate the cluster of players at the top with Luiten part of a three way tie alongside Jorge Campillo and playing partner Paul Waring heading into the final four holes.
However, the Dutchman found form at the right time to make gains at the 15th, 16th and 17th to give himself an excellent chance of recording a second win on The European Tour tomorrow.
“It's easy if you play like I did on the back nine, but the first fives holes were tough,” Luiten said.“Once I settled down a bit I started to play better, hit some good shots and make some putts. The first hole you're always nervous.”
Björn stole the show in the morning as the in-form Dane - bidding to post his third top ten finish in his last four tournaments - posted an inward 30.
His remarkable round was ignited in strange circumstances on the par fourth 12th when he was contemplating changing his ball before seeing his approach find the hole.
“I hit the drive and I said to my caddie to change the ball at the next hole as the flight was a bit funny,” he said.
“Then I holed the second shot and he looked at me and said 'Flying funny is it?'
"I've been plodding along and playing alright but not great. Something clicked into place today and I couldn't stop making birdies on the back nine.”
Luiten’s birdie on the ninth kick-started a flurry of activity at the top with Campillo starting the back nine by picking up a shot at each of the first four holes.
Waring made a four at the par five 13th and moments later Luiten squandered the opportunity to move out on his own by racing past the hole from two feet.
From then, though, the two had completely contrasting fortunes. Luiten moved ahead at the 15th and his firm putting only strengthened his position, while Waring had to take drops on the 16th and on the penultimate hole as he fell off the pace.De La Riva picked up his fourth birdie of the day and gave himself some momentum by rolling in on the 18th, but Luiten will hold all the aces tomorrow in Vienna.
“It's always better to be leading than be behind,” Luiten added. “I don't mind playing with the lead.”