Andy Sullivan mastered the conditions to fire a brilliant third-round 67 and put himself right in contention heading into the final day of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
The Englishman had arguably the easier task in the morning with the wind and rain picking for the later starters but he certainly made the most of it, firing six birdies and an eagle to get to seven under, just two shots back of 54-hole leaders Andrew Dodt, Ian Poulter and Callum Shinkwin.
It could have been even better for the Ryder Cup star but for a bogey-double-bogey run on the 16th and 17th before the eagle on the 18th where he holed out from the bunker.
The 30 year old had a long wait on the 18th tee as Ross Fisher was looking for a ball and he admitted that the chance to calm his temper after that poor run may have saved his tournament.
It was a good way to finish and good after putting in all that hard work with the weather and I got my rewards at the end
“I knew 16, 17 was going to play tough,” he said. “I just didn’t expect to hit it in the bunker for the third day in a row on 17.
“We had a bit of a wait on the 18th tee which probably did me a world of good, got my head back in the frame because I was absolutely seething standing on the tee.
“If I had to hit that tee-shot within a couple of minutes, I’m not sure it would have hit the fairway.
“It was a good way to finish and good after putting in all that hard work with the weather and I got my rewards at the end.
“When we started it was very drizzly with not much wind, so I was thinking – ‘let’s make hay while it’s like this’. I got off to a really good start and took advantage of that, so I was really happy.
Sullivan will head to Royal Birkdale next week for his third appearance at the Open Championship and was delighted to get his links game in order ahead of a Major where he has two top-30 finishes.
“Links golf is one of them where you can just have little bits of fortune,” he said. “You can get some poor shots and the contours take it quite close and hit great shots and it goes in the bunker.
“You have to be massively patient out there and just pick and choose when you feel like you can be aggressive and when you can’t be aggressive. Links golf, I wouldn’t say is the most times where you can be aggressive but you’ve really got to be patient, especially in weather conditions like this.
“It’s done us a world of good going into the Open, playing these last few weeks getting used to links golf and the aspects of trying to use the contours instead of just flying it all the way through the air. It’s nice to get them shots in the bag for next week.”