Hennie Otto scrambled a gutsy par at the last to preserve a two shot lead going into the final round of the 71° Open D'Italia Presented by Damiani, where Stephen Gallacher’s last-gasp Ryder Cup bid will go to the wire.
Otto leads Scotland’s Richie Ramsay by two, and while the latter would hate to be the man to deny compatriot Gallacher a place in The Ryder Cup, he admits he will have to look after his own interests first.
The 2008 winner Otto began the day with a three shot lead after a stunning 62 on Friday, but struggled to a 71 in just his second tournament back after two back operations.
"It was a rough day to be honest," said the 38 year old, who carded five birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey seven on the ninth after carving his second into trees down the right and taking a penalty drop.
"My back started to tighten after eight holes but I managed to get it round even though I couldn't swing it properly. I got a little lucky at times as well but you need that in this game if you are going to win a tournament.
"It's uncomfortable but not painful enough to stop me playing. I'm not really worried about it. I was in serious pain before the operations but this is nothing like that and I can get it fixed with some stretching and physio just now."