IRVINE - Ian Poulter made light of "brutal" conditions to move into a three-way share of the lead after the Scottish Open third round at Dundonald Links on Saturday.
The 41-year Florida-based Englishman carded a one-under par 71 to join compatriot Callum Shinkwin (72) and Australia’s Andrew Dodt (71) at nine-under par.
This trio are two shots clear of Andy Sullivan on a windswept and rainy day on the Scottish west coast.
Poulter, looking to win for a first time anywhere in five years, said: "I am pretty happy as starting out we knew the conditions were going to be really tough today. On the 12th hole it was about as tough as I have ever seen in terms of wind and rain.
"It was a job just to hold onto the umbrella let alone trying to hit a 6 iron from 125 yards, and even that did not get near the pin.
“So, they were brutally tough conditions but I hung in there very strong and all in all it was a good day."
Ten days ago, the sometimes outspoken English golfer brilliantly let his clubs do the talking in qualifying for next week’s British Open where in 2008 he recorded a career best finish in all of his 53 Major showings of second.
Now he is in with a shot of ending his long winless run.
“With a round to play, and not having won in five years, I am excited and it is good to be in this position but it will be all about staying patient but then I know there is still life in the old dog, yet.
"I am relishing the opportunity tomorrow to go and give myself a chance of winning."
Dodt's wife, Rachel arrived from Sydney just as her husband was teeing off and packed for a five-day holiday next week in New York.
However, the 31-year old is not only in position for a third Tour success but he and Shinkwin are currently the two top of three qualifiers into next week’s Open at Royal Birkdale.
Dodt had led going to the last day in the recent BMW PGA Championship and while he has never contested a Major, either victory in Scotland or finishing among the leading three qualifiers would be good enough to seal a Royal Birkdale tee time.
“If I were to qualify for The Open my wife and I will be glad to change the holiday in New York and head south instead to Birkdale,” he smiled.
“I am 31 and I have yet to play in a Major and I would rather play in a Major sooner rather than later, so there is a lot of motivation to try and secure one of the three spots."
Dodt's round was a mix of three birdies, including a gem at the last, and also two bogeys.
"Today it was hold onto your hats stuff and just a matter of grinding out pars," he said.
The 24-year-old Shinkwin missed the cut in last year’s Open and capped his third day with an eagle '3' at the 14th.
Two shots further back is fellow Englishman Sullivan, a three time Tour winner two years ago, who finished bogey, birdie and eagle in his score of 67.
"After the bogey on 17 I got my head back in frame because I was absolutely seething on the tee, and got my rewards at the end holing that bunker shot for a three," he said.
Joint overnight leader, Padraig Harrington buckled under a 79 to drop to a share of 23rd place at two under.