Ian Poulter will go in search of a first European Tour win in almost five years when he takes a share of the lead into the final round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
The Englishman fired a one under par 71 in strong wind and rain at Dundonald Links to get to nine under and will head into Sunday alongside countryman Callum Shinkwin and Australian Andrew Dodt at the top of the leaderboard in the fourth Rolex Series event of the season.
Another Englishman in Andy Sullivan was then at seven under, a shot clear of Swede Johan Carlsson, Ireland’s Paul Dunne and New Zealander Ryan Fox.
Poulter’s last win came at the WGC – HSBC Champions in November 2012 but he has an excellent record when leading after 54 holes, having won seven of the nine times he has been atop the leaderboard.
Dodt – a two-time winner on Tour – has led a Rolex Series event before heading into the final round, having done so at the BMW PGA Championship in May, while Shinkwin is seeking a first win in just his 44th event.
The 41 year old and Shinkwin both got in bunker trouble on the fifth to drop back to eight under and into a four-way tie for the lead but the latter hit a very smart tee-shot into the sixth to break out of the pack.
Poulter then holed a long one on the seventh to move back to nine under and with Shinkwin dropping a shot, the 12-time European Tour winner had the lead.
Shinkwin hit an excellent approach to the eighth to get within one of the lead but Poulter’s was even better and he had just four feet left to move back ahead.
He was soon back in a share of the lead, though, as Poulter failed to get up and down from the side of the green at the 16th for his second bogey of the day.
Dodt had been quietly going about his business and with Poulter and Shinkwin stood on the final tee, he made a birdie ahead on the green to join the lead.
Sullivan had set the clubhouse target at seven under early after a roller coaster 67 that was the best round of the day.
The Englishman turned in 32 with four birdies and when he added further gains on the 12th and 14th, he was just a single shot off the lead. He bogeyed the 16th and double-bogeyed the next to go sliding back down the leaderboard but holed from the sand for an eagle on the last.
Carlsson made seven birdies in a 68 while Dunne and Fox both signed for rounds of 69.
Englishmen Richard Bland, Andrew Johnston and Anthony Wall, American pair Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar, Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and German duo Alexander Knappe and Bernd Ritthammer were then at five under.