Sweden's Michael Jonzon, with one win in 290 starts and fighting for his future on the European Tour, holds the lead in the Castello Masters in Spain going into today's final round.
The former Portuguese Open champion is 158th on the money list and needs to finish first or second to be sure of keeping his Tour card.
But even after a six-under-par 65 swept him to 16 under, Jonzon is feeling enormous pressure because joint second, a single stroke behind, are defending champion Sergio Garcia on his home course and Martin Kaymer, who can return to the top of the Order of Merit by winning his first event since injuring his foot in a go-kart crash in August.
But it was England's Sam Hutsby, in only his third Tour event as a professional, who provided the story of the day. The 21-year-old, runner-up at the British Amateur in June and a Walker Cup debutant last month, kept pace with Jonzon but bogeyed the last for a 66 that sent him down to fourth place on 14 under.
The Swede is 482nd in the world, whereas Garcia is ranked 10th and Kaymer 12th. Hutsby, though, is down at 1,374th – the position given to all those who have zero ranking points.
In his previous starts he missed the cut at the Dunhill Links and Madrid Masters, but this week has been making the most of an invitation from tournament host Garcia.
"I'm enjoying every minute," he said. "It's not really sunk in that I'm playing on Tour. Hopefully I can sleep well tonight and then keep to my plan under pressure." If he was to win he would instantly earn a two-year exemption and avoid the nightmarish rigours of the qualifying school.
England's Simon Wakefield, another player in need of a good week, fired a 65 but at seven behind the leader has lots of work to do.
Garcia shot a bogey-free 67, while Kaymer came back from a double bogey at the second to record a 68.
Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie is finally showing some form, firing a day's best 64 to lie just outside the top 10. "I've gone back to a short putter and am putting much better," he said. "But this year has been a write-off. I need to get my game sorted out – my irons are not accurate enough."
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, England's Greg Owen headed out last night for his third round in a share of the lead with American rookie Rickie Fowler at the Frys.com Open in Scottsdale, Arizona. The pair carded second-round 64s to sit on 11 under at the halfway stage.Reuse content