Aberdeen, United Kingdom – England's Justin Rose will need to overcome what promises to be a patriotic home crowd if he is to capture the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen on Sunday.
Rose will tee-up in the final round alongside Scotland's Marc Warren after both players completed the third round tied at 10-under par for a one-shot lead.
Rose, the highest-ranked player in the field at number six, grabbed six birdies, including three in succession from the 10th hole, in a five under par 66.
And Rose knows only too well the task he faces if he is to capture a first Scottish Open and his seventh European Tour victory.
“This is a special tournament for Marc and the other Scots which they can take a lot of inspiration from so I'm sure the home crowd will be wanting to see a Scot pick up the trophy,” said Rose.
“We'll see. It's never easy finishing off a golf tournament, whether you've done it five times or never before.”
Warren, who let slip victory in the event two years ago at Castle Stuart in Inverness, bogeyed the last hole in a four under par 67.
The Scot, who is ranked 156 places lower in the world than Rose, had raced to the top of the board early in his round with five birdies over his opening 10 holes.
While he also birdied the 13th, the 33-year old Glaswegian dropped a shot at 14 and then the last.
Rose, who won his last event at the Quicken Loans National, is now favourite to capture a rare European Tour and PGA Tour back-to-back title success, but Warren knows he will have near full crowd support as he strives to end a seven-year winless drought and capture only a second European Tour event.
“Overall it was a good day's work despite dropping a couple of shots there near the end of my round,” said Warren.
“I played really well over the front nine and controlled what I was doing and it just got a bit scrappy towards the end.
“But after going so close to winning two years ago I am really looking forward now to the last round.”
He added: “If I were to win it would be great because for the Scots this event is like a fifth Major, and outside of the four Majors it doesn't get any bigger for us.”
There are seven players all within five shots of the lead including Sweden's Kristoffer Broberg who posted a three under par 68 to be in third place at nine under and two clear of England's Tyrrell Hatton who shot a 66.
Broberg, Hatton and Scotland's Craig Lee (66), who shares fifth place at six under par, are on target to secure the three places into next week's British Open at Royal Liverpool.
Double Major winning Rory McIlroy rediscovered his form to sign for a three under par 68 to end the round tied in 13th place at three under, and a day after recording his highest European Tour score in 51 weeks.
McIlroy will now look ahead to the British Open, a year after he crashed out of the Muirfield Open with scores of 79 and 75.
“It's important for me going now into tomorrow's last round thinking to myself that I have shot 64 and 68 on this golf course, which is two really good scores,” he said.
“Friday was just one of those days where nothing really went right. I couldn't get any momentum.
“So it would be nice to shoot another good one tomorrow and head to Hoylake with a bit of confidence.”
Tied with McIlroy is American Rickie Fowler (68) while defending champion Phil Mickelson capped his round of 70 with an eagle at the par five sixth hole, and his second eagle this week at the same hole.
Mickelson is a shot behind McIlroy and Fowler at two under par. – Sapa-AFP