Gareth MAYBIN (NIR) during the third round of the 2013 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open played over Castle Stuart Golf Links, Inverness, Scotland from 11th to 14th July 2013: Picture Stuart Adams 13th July 2013Take a look at Gareth Maybin’s season and it looks like he’s struggling. Ranked 109th in the Race to Dubai and 414th in the world, the 32-year old Ballyclare man is still seeking his first win on the European Tour since he earned his card through the Challenge Tour rankings at the end of 2008.

He came close to winning in one of his first starts on the big tour, losing out to Richard Sterne in a play-off for the South African Open at Pearl Valley in 2009.

Now, four years on and after a season that has featured 10 missed cuts from 18 starts, he has a chance to win the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open after carding an eagle and eight birdies in a magnificent, eight under par 64.

Tied for sixth on 13 under par, the US college graduate gave his confidence a boost before his debut in the Open next week as he goes in to the final round just three shots behind Henrik Stenson.

A tally of 27 putts told the story of his day and summed up just how tough it is to contend on tour these days.

If the putts drop, you are going to contend and while he’s missed 10 cuts, many have been by the minimum.

It’s weird, people say, are you struggling for form, but I’ve actually been playing okay, missing cuts by one, maybe mentally not as solid as I need to be,” said Maybin, who was eighth behidn Graeme McDowell in the Open de France last week.  “Ever since qualifying for The Open at Sunningdale, I’ve played pretty solid from there on, so pretty happy with where my game is.”

As for his third round, which saw him out in 31 despite a bogey at the ninth, he said: “It was pretty much flawless apart from I guess the two bogeys. You know, I played great golf, flagged it all day and made a bunch of putts.

“Yeah, over the moon.  Very, very solid this morning and absolutely perfect conditions in sunny Scotland, which was nice.

“It’s been building for a while to be honest.  Not many people have seen it but I’ve seen it and I’ve believed in it, so that’s really the only thing that matters.”

A pupil of Johnny Foster, who also coaches Gareth Shaw and North of Ireland champion Chris Selfridge, Maybin summed up his year as a series of near misses.

“How many missed cuts, ten?  I would say five of those are bad shots.  That doesn’t really do me justice to be honest.

“Any time I make the weekend, I seem to put in a good showing, so looking forward to tomorrow.”

His form with the putter is streaky and he’s hoping for another good day on Sunday.

“I just didn’t think I could miss, any time I stood over the putter whether it be for par or birdie or eagle, I just really didn’t think I could miss.

“It probably [happens] once a year (laughing).”