Paul McGinley's putting confidence evaporated following a disastrous ninth hole double bogey in the Volvo China Open.
Buoyed by his performance in the greens in a second round 67, the Dubliner raced into the lead on five-under par thanks to early birdies at the first and fifth at Beijing CBD International GC.
But a double bogey seven at the ninth knocked the stuffing out of his challenge and he signed for a 75 left him eight strokes adrift of leader Richard Finch, who hit a 66 to lead by a shot from Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez Castaño.
Just off the green in three at the 570-yard par-five, McGinley bladed his chip over the green and took three more to get down from there as he racked up a seven that heralded the beginning of the end.
Bogeys at the 11th, 14th and 15th forced him to settle for a three over par round that relegated him from fourth to tied 15th with Ulsterman Gareth Maybin on level par.
Back in action after a five week break, Maybin is hoping to challenge for a top finish after a carding a two under par 70 that featured four birides and two bogeys.
"I am a little rusty but it is good to get four rounds under my belt. All in all I am happy enough," Maybin said.
"I didn't come in here with a lot of expectations so I am very happy to be in the position I am in after taking five weeks off.
"I went to a friends wedding in the US and partied a bit but I am getting ready for the rest of the season now."
Maybin, 28, graduated from the Challenge Tour last year got his rookie season on the European Tour off to a flying start when he was involved in a play-off for the South African Open in December.
He lost to Richard Sterne's birdie at the first play-off hole but a cheque for € 115000 and another for € 54425 following his sixth place finish in the Maybank Malaysian Open has secured his tour card for 2010.
Ranked 43rd in the Race to Dubai with €213,536, Maybin has set his sights on qualifying for November's Race to Dubai finale.
But he will also be quietly concentrating on winning the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award and his maiden European Tour title.
Looking forward to a good season after recharding his batteries, he said: "You have to have that desire and that freshness and I have that now. I am looking forward to the summer and the big tournaments.
"My goal now is to finish in the top 60 of the Race to Dubai and that's about it. I love China and I have good history here. Hopefully I can finish with a good round tomorrow."
He is a big fan of China where he secured his European Tour card by winning the inaugural Qingdao Golf Open last September. But he also gained a huge amount of confidence by qualifying to represent Ireland in the 2007 Mission Hills Word Cup alongside fellow Ulsterman Michael Hoey, who won the Portuguse Open two weeks ago.
He said: "It was my first big tournament and I took a lot from playing there with a lot fo good players and learning from them. Hopefully I can take that into the rest of the season and see what happens."
Currently ranked 95th in the world, a European Tour victory on tour would catapult Maybin close to the world's top 50 and he hopes to make his mark in next week's Ballantine's Championship in Korea, where Graeme McDowell is defending.
Defending champion Damien McGrane slipped to a disappointing 78 that left him near the back of the field on eight over par.