Jonathan Caldwell was unable to find the forward gears as Valderrama continued to bare its teeth on moving day at the Andalucia Masters.
The Clandeboye professional entered the weekend as Ireland’s sole survivor after a brutal examination of golf over the first two days and things got no easier on Saturday as Caldwell signed for a second successive four-over par 75 to drop to a plus-10 total.
The 36-year old had to wait 17 holes for his only birdie of the day to arrive and with five dropped shots also on the card, he enters Sunday’s final round just inside the top-50.
Ireland’s two other competing stars, Cormac Sharvin and Gavin Moynihan fell short of the weekend cut on Friday.
At the top, John Catlin will go in search of his first European Tour win as he takes a two stroke lead into the final round in Spain.
The American, who has four Asian Tour titles to his name, started the third day at Real Club Valderrama two shots ahead of a chasing pack and had briefly increased his lead to three after a birdie on the eighth hole.
But the notoriously tricky 1997 Ryder Cup venue showed its teeth on the back nine as he came home two over par to sign for a one over 72 and a two under total – meaning he enters the final round as the only player under par.
Catlin is just two strokes ahead of former World Number One and two-time Major Champion Martin Kaymer. The German, who has stated that one of his career ambitions is to win at Valderrama, carded a two under par round of 69 to move back to level par.
In a share of third on one over are 2014 Ryder Cup player Jamie Donaldson and Lorenzo Gagli of Italy, who celebrated his first European Tour hole-in-one with an ace on the 203-yard 12th hole. Sami Välimäki, winner of the Oman Open back in March, is a stroke further back on two over par.
Full scoring HERE