Shane Lowry double bogeyed the 18th for the second day and now lies six shots behind Masters champion Sergio Garcia ahead of the final round of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.
As Garcia continued his march towards a sixth European Tour victory on home soil courtesy of a three under 68, Lowry's six at the 18th leaves him tied for seventh place on two-under-par after making six birdies in what was eventually a two-under 69.
He will be frustrated to have undone much of his good work at the finish, especially when he is 65th in the Race to Dubai and seeking a win that would help him achieve his goal of a return to the world's top 50.
But he will also be looking at the many positives and hoping for an error-free Sunday after racking up 14 birdies in his first three rounds.
Pádraig Harrington made five birdies in a 69, but like Lowry, he has frittered away four shots on one hole.
In Harrington's case, it's the ninth, where he followed bogeys in the first two rounds with a double bogey six in round three.
The Dubliner, 46, birdied the second and fourth before a bogey at the eighth and a double at the ninth left him four over for the tournament.
But he came home in 33 with birdies at the 10th, 16th and 17th and goes into the final round tied for 21st on one-over-par.
Garcia, 37, leads by a shot on eight-under-par from England's Daniel Brooks, who significantly boosted his hopes of retaining his European Tour card with a stunning, seven-under 64.
Joost Luiten (71) is alone in third on six-under with Scot Jamieson (71) and Jamie Donaldson (68) just three strokes behind Garcia on five-under-par.
“It was pretty solid. I missed a couple of shots here and there but other than that I got off to a great start with a couple of birdies, almost three birdies in a row. Then I, unfortunately, missed a couple of shots and made a couple of bogeys.
“I stayed patient, made a good birdie on eight and almost a great birdie on nine. On the back nine, a couple of good saves and then a couple of nice birdies to finish with.
“I'm going to go out there tomorrow and try to post another under par round and see what happens. Obviously, Daniel Brooks shot seven under today, almost eight under, so good rounds are possible, but they have to be spot-on. We know what Valderrama can do.
“The way it’s playing maybe you can chase a low score, but everything has to be going your way and the couple of shots you miss, you have to get lucky with gaps or have good lies in the rough. It’s not easy, but we’ll see.
“It would be amazing to win, an amazing achievement. It's still a long way to go tomorrow so I can’t get ahead of myself too much and hopefully I’ll have a good night and a nice rest and be ready for tomorrow, play well and see what happens.”
“That was good fun out there. I hit a lot of good shots. I've been playing some great golf all week, I made a lot of birdies - I've made some silly bogeys - but my game's in good shape, so hopefully, I can take that into tomorrow.
“You need to play aggressively to get it into good positions off the tee and it's a lot easier to attack from there, if you're playing quite conservative off the tee then it does become quite tricky and longer. This week I've been playing quite aggressively and I've been attacking pins, playing nice golf.
“I knew I needed a good week. If you have a good one, great, if not then I go to Tour School in a few weeks’ time. That's how I've looked at it and it's not the end of the world. I've put myself in a good position now and hopefully, I’ll have a good day tomorrow.
“It's been in there. I've had seven birdies the last two days each day, I could have had some good scores but I just let it slip a bit, and it gets to you round here. As soon as you start missing a couple of shots, you hit a few trees, your head just starts to go all over the place. Today was a lot calmer out there for me. I kept it in play and it was good fun. A nice steady day would do me (on Sunday), nothing too stressful."
“I felt like I left a couple too many out there, especially on the greens with a couple of short putts – I three-putted the seventh and missed a short one on nine, lipped out on ten. But I’m still in the race and hopefully tomorrow those ones will drop.
“I struggled a little off the tee so you have to hit some good wedge shots in and luckily I did on 16 and 17, hit it pretty much stiff on both holes. That was nice, it’s good to fall back on things like that, and hopefully, we can do that tomorrow again.
“It’s fun to play in that final group, but it’s also good to be away from the crowds a little bit. I like to play in the last group, that’s why you play golf, but it looks like I just missed out on it. It just means I need to go from behind and surprise them that way.
“I think if you can get it ten under tomorrow it’s going to be hard for Sergio, but he knows the course a lot and is obviously playing well. But he still has to do it tomorrow as well, and I think the pressure is on him tomorrow so hopefully, I can be the underdog.”
“It's so difficult, that last hole, and it was a really good angle in. I hit a good nine iron just below the hole, and it was nice to finish with a birdie. It was a shame not to birdie 17 after two really good shots, but overall it was a really good day.
“It's one of the most difficult golf courses we play to find the fairway, and I did that most of the time, which is great. You have to drive it really well around here, so I’m really happy with it. It's very playable when you start knocking it down the middle of every fairway.
“As soon as you're missing fairways, you don't have to miss them by much, and you're behind a tree, or sometimes you're even behind a tree in the middle of a fairway, so you have to hit certain sides. It's a very difficult golf course, it's a bit like playing chess out there, you just have to aim at your target and hope it goes there.
“The last couple of years have been difficult with injury, so you just have to keep going, working hard, sort the injuries out and practise hard. I've been playing nicely of late, I've just not been up there with chances often enough. I've been playing really good this week, so hopefully I can continue that tomorrow, keep putting it in the middle of the fairway and see how low we can go.”
“A front nine of level par was disappointing, but a back nine level par was maybe a fair representation - I maybe could have sneaked one or two better. I was good tee-to-green front side so to be level at the turn was disappointing, but it was a great day.
“Playing with Sergio here in Spain around this iconic venue, there were so many people watching, it was great fun. It feels special, obviously, they were here to watch Sergio, but I played my part, I tried to hang on to his coat tails there.
"It was a fantastic feeling and an honour as well to play with the Masters champion. It's not that easy sometimes playing with someone like Sergio, there's a lot that comes with it, and I kind of handled that quite well today, I thought.
“If a couple more putts had dropped it would have been an even better day. There are certain holes you've got to be on the right side of the fairway, you can be in the rough on some holes and be okay, so I feel like I've got a good game-plan. If I can execute and hole some putts I'll fancy a good chance.”
Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, Real Club Valderrama (Par 71)
205 S Garcia (Esp) 66 71 68,
206 D Brooks (Eng) 70 72 64,
207 J Luiten (Ned) 66 70 71,
208 S Jamieson (Sco) 69 68 71, J Donaldson (Wal) 73 67 68,
210 W Ormsby (Aus) 73 70 67,
211 Shane Lowry (Irl) 72 70 69, J Suri (USA) 73 73 65, R Gouveia (Por) 69 70 72, A Hansen (Den) 70 70 71, R Rock (Eng) 67 70 74,
212 M Manassero (Ita) 70 74 68, P Hanson (Swe) 69 75 68, M Wallace (Eng) 71 72 69,
213 R Dinwiddie (Eng) 71 71 71, P Larrazábal (Esp) 67 73 73, B Ritthammer (Ger) 75 68 70, S Kjeldsen (Den) 72 71 70, A Johnston (Eng) 69 71 73, D Willett (Eng) 70 72 71,
214 A Otaegui (Esp) 71 71 72, R Bland (Eng) 70 71 73, L Slattery (Eng) 72 71 71, S Soderberg (Swe) 73 69 72, N Bertasio (Ita) 74 71 69, P Waring (Eng) 71 72 71, J Fahrbring (Swe) 73 71 70, C Hanson (Eng) 72 74 68, R Jacquelin (Fra) 71 70 73, J Lima (Por) 72 72 70, R Finch (Eng) 69 73 72, Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 72 73 69,
215 T Detry (Bel) 72 72 71, A Chesters (Eng) 72 74 69, O Fisher (Eng) 72 73 70, B Evans (Eng) 69 69 77, A Rai (Eng) 70 74 71, P Peterson (USA) 68 72 75,
216 J Morrison (Eng) 69 74 73, F Fritsch (Ger) 71 75 70, A Plant (Eng) 70 72 74, M Kaymer (Ger) 70 72 74, J Walters (RSA) 71 74 71,
217 A Wu (Chn) 72 71 74, D Perrier (Fra) 74 72 71, L Jensen (Den) 70 74 73, A Sullivan (Eng) 71 72 74, J Scrivener (Aus) 70 75 72, A Cañizares (Esp) 72 70 75, B Dredge (Wal) 73 73 71, R Paratore (Ita) 77 68 72,
218 Z Lombard (RSA) 75 71 72, P Angles (Esp) 75 69 74, A Connelly (Can) 73 69 76, J Campillo (Esp) 73 73 72,
220 C Pigem (Esp) 73 73 74, A Karlsson (Swe) 73 72 75, O Wilson (Eng) 69 70 81,
221 S Crocker (USA) 73 73 75, A Romero (Arg) 71 75 75, E Molinari (Ita) 69 71 81, C Syme (Sco) 75 70 76,
222 F Aguilar (Chi) 70 76 76, M Foster (Eng) 73 72 77,
225 A Knappe (Ger) 74 72 79.