Lawrie leads at Gleneagles
Paul Lawrie holds a one-shot lead after the third round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles as Nicolas Colsaerts struggled.
Last Updated: 25/08/12 6:51pm
Paul Lawrie holds a one-shot lead after the third round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles as Nicolas Colsaerts' hopes of claiming an automatic Ryder Cup place took another blow.
Lawrie, who has already secured a spot on Europe's team for the first time since 1999, heads into the final day narrowly ahead of Frenchman Romain Wattel after shooting a 67.
Colsaerts, meanwhile, needs a top-two finish to knock Martin Kaymer out of the last automatic spot on Jose Maria Olazabal's side, but a one-under-par 71 on Saturday left him languishing in joint 13th place.
Unless Padraig Harrington wins on the PGA Tour this weekend Belgium's Colsaerts is still expected to join Ian Poulter as a wild-card choice, but his chance to end all doubts over his selection may be slipping away.
Colsaerts is prepared to be kept on tenterhooks for another day at least, with Olazabal's decision to be announced on Monday.
"I have no clue - you can look at so many different scenarios. What I need to do is shoot the lowest round of my career," Colsaerts said.
"I'm thinking about it all the time. When you want something that much it's difficult to avoid."
He is aware of a wild-card threat not only from Harrington across the Atlantic but also at Gleneagles from Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello, who is tied for seventh and could yet finish ahead of him on the points table.
Lawrie, though, has his focus solely on trying to win on home soil for the third time, with his last victory in Scotland coming at the Dunhill Links at St Andrews 11 years ago.
Lawrie, who ended nine years without a victory in Spain last March, resumed one behind joint halfway leaders Mark Foster and Richard Finch, but the two Englishmen could only card rounds of 75 and 78 respectively.
In stark contrast to that, 21-year-old Wattel shot a superb 63 which would have equalled the course record but for preferred lies being in operation on the wet fairways.
Meanwhile, Lawrie calmly went about his work. Three birdies took him to the turn in 33 and while he did bogey the 10th and 15th, there were also four more birdies on the inward half.
The last of them came despite his ball plugging in the sand by the green at the long 16th. He holed an eight-footer there, then got up and down from another bunker at the next.
Fellow Scot Stephen Gallacher is three shots behind in third after shooting a 65, while Gary Boyd, Maarten Lafeber and Brett Rumford were one shot further back in a tie for fourth.
Colin Montgomerie shot a round of 69 to finish the day on seven under, leaving him one of six men tied for seventh position.