David Orr (below) played the part of Captain Marvel to perfection as Scotland intensified their dominance of The PGAs of Europe International Team Championship on Portugal’s Algarve.
Three strokes clear at the start of the penultimate round, the Scots had almost doubled their advantage at the end of it thanks to Orr’s tour de force display and another sub-par round from Gareth Wright.
With one round of the Alvor Course at the Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort to negotiate, Scotland are five strokes clear of England and seven ahead of France, the defending champions.
All of which means the €6,000 winner’s cheque is the Scots to lose on the final day.
“It’s a great position to be in,” admitted Orr after sinking a birdie putt at the par four 18th to card a five-under-par 67.
The way Orr completed his round, with a short putt that followed an exquisite backspin-laden pitch, was at odds with an inauspicious bogey, bogey start.
“I three-putted the first and then bogeyed the second,” he added. “But I played almost flawless golf after that. I had seven birdies in the last 16 holes and it’s fair to say I left a couple more shots out there.”
Orr’s round was Scotland’s best of the tournament thus far, eclipsing the 68 Wright posted in the first round.
Wright followed that with a 69 before weighing in with a one-under-par 71 to remain the tournament’s leading individual, one ahead of England’s Stuart Little and two clear of Orr.
David Patrick, the third member of the Scottish trio who had a rare off day, lies joint 11th in the individual rankings and Orr stressed: “It’s been a real team effort to get this far.
“We dovetail very well and the fact that we finished third, fourth and fifth in the Scottish region’s Order of Merit reflects that.”
Little, meanwhile, kept England’s faltering hopes of victory alive with a four-under-par 68.
It also ensured England remain in second place, a position that could be under threat from the French for whom Benjamin Nikolay (pictured, right) produced a real captain’s display as well as the round of the tournament so far.
The French lie third on seven-under for the tournament, four strokes adrift of England after Nikolay, who led them to victory last year, posted a six-under-par round of 66.
“I’m very happy with that,” said Nikolay following a round that featured seven birdies and a solitary blemish – at the 11th.
“We certainly needed it. Now we have to duplicate it again tomorrow to stand any chance of winning.”
Nikolay admitted, however, it will be very difficult to cancel out Scotland’s nine stroke lead.
“Scotland will be tough to beat,” he added. “I think we’re fighting for second place now.”