GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Paul Lawrie of Scotland shot a 5-under 67 in the third round of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead.
Lawrie's 12-under 204 puts him one ahead of Frenchman Romain Wattel, who had 10 birdies for a 63. Stephen Gallacher (65) of Scotland is another two shots back.
Lawrie, who will be making his Ryder Cup return next month after a 13-year absence, had seven birdies in his round with just two bogeys in pursuit of his second Tour title of the year.
Earlier this year, Lawrie won his second Qatar Masters title, a win that sent him to second on the European Ryder Cup points table. He has been among the automatic qualifiers ever since.
If Lawrie hangs on, it will be the third straight success for a member of Jose Maria Olazabal's team following wins in the PGA Championship by Rory McIlroy two weeks ago and Sergio Garcia last week at the Wyndham Championship.
Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts, despite birdies on his opening two holes, appears likely to require a Ryder Cup wild-card pick after slipping six shots behind Lawrie with a 71.