GLEANEAGLES, United Kingdom (AFP) – England's Tommy Fleetwood earned a share of the lead with Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez after the third round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles on Saturday.
Fleetwood looked set to lead on his own after six birdies and an eagle in his first 16 holes, but bogeyed the 18th to card a five-under-par 67.
At 16 under par he shares top spot with Gonzalez, with Sweden's Fredrik Andersson Hed a further shot behind after a 66 on the Centenary Course which will host next year's Ryder Cup.
"The last hole does not really mean anything," Fleetwood said. "It's a tough hole and the way I hit my tee shot I did well to make six.
"If I hadn't I would have had to go back 100 yards and could have taken anything up to a 10. The way I played the first 17 holes was fantastic.
"I have been up there a bit this year and faltered a bit, so it's nice that I have kept my good golf going for three rounds."
Fleetwood was the youngest winner of the Challenge Tour in 2011, but only kept his card at the end of his rookie season on the European Tour thanks to a first top 10 of the year in the final event in South Africa.
"I came off the Challenge Tour feeling I was the best golfer in the world, it felt very easy and I could not do much wrong. Last year I was still working hard but maybe not working on the right things," Fleetwood said.
"The more you play poorly out here, the easier it is to get into a downward spiral. It was horrible."
Gonzalez took a one-shot lead into the third round after back-to-back 65s but was only able to manage a 70 on Saturday, despite recovering from a bogey on the first with birdies at the second, fourth and ninth.
The 42-year-old's last European Tour win came in 2009 but his mind has understandably been elsewhere recently after his mother, father and father-in-law all passed away in the space of the last two years.
"The last two years have been very difficult personally," said Gonzalez. "If I win I would like to dedicate it to my mother and father, that's my target this week."
Scotland's Stephen Gallacher is just three off the lead alongside Austria's Bernd Wiesberger after charging through the field with a superb 64, despite continuing to struggle with a "freak" injury which threatened his participation.
Gallacher injured his back when washing his car on Monday and has been receiving treatment all week, but still stormed home in 30.