Gleneagles, Scotland – Paul Lawrie took a one-shot lead in the third round of the Johnnie Walker Championship on Saturday after shooting a 67 which took him to a 12-under 204 and a one-shot lead over Frenchman Romain Wattel.
The Scotsman has recently earned one of the 10 automatic places in the European team to take on the United States in the Ryder Cup at Medinah, Chicago, next month.
Lawrie, 43, showed the form which enabled him to win the British Open at Carnoustie in 1999 and go on to make his only previous Ryder Cup appearance a couple of months later.
The championship is the last points-counting event for the Ryder Cup.
Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts' chances of a top two finish and an automatic Ryder Cup place at the expense of Germany's Martin Kaymer receded when he managed a 71 only to trail Lawrie by six shots.
Colsaerts will probably now have to rely on a wild card from Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal when the European team is decided on Monday morning.
“I am not someone who gets stressed out at awful lot,” Lawrie said.
“But it's nice to have the Ryder Cup qualification out of the way and get back to what you should be working on, which is winning tournaments, and this week is the start of that.
“If I can hang on tomorrow that would be huge to have two wins this year, a Ryder Cup place and hopefully win some points.”
With another Scot Stepehen Gallacher in third place three points off the lead Gleneagles should see a bumper home crowd for the fourth round.
One Scot rarely stays out of the headline.
Colin Montgomerie gave himself an outside chance of winning by shooting a 69 to lie five shots off the lead. He also had some advice for Olazabal about his his vice-captain selection.
“You've got to think now Colsaerts and (Ian) Poulter, haven't you, really, and that's what I'm sure everyone is thinking. And it would be no surprise if that's what he decides on Monday morning,” Montgomerie said.
“(Padraig) Harrington has a lot to do to win that golf tournament in America, and it looks like Nicolas Colsaerts and Ian Poulter, a lot easier decision than I had, and it gives him an experienced team, all apart from Colsaerts having had Ryder Cup experience, which is great.
“This is going to be very difficult to play away from home in America, and we need experience there. He's got 11 out of 12 that have been in The Ryder Cup before and that's I'm sure what he wants.” – Reuters