Lee Westwood is battling to keep his hopes of becoming European number one alive after a terrible start to his third round in the Dunhill Links Championship.
Westwood is currently second in the Order of Merit behind Padraig Harrington, closing the gap to £180,000 by finishing second in the British Masters at The Belfry on Sunday.
Victory over Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano in a play-off would have reduced the deficit by a further £100,000, but with the first prize this week a massive £432,000, there was still time for Westwood to reclaim the Harry Vardon Trophy he won in 2000.
The Ryder Cup star began the day alongside Harrington on six under par, just two off the overnight lead, but quickly fell foul of the bad weather and tough Carnoustie course.
The 35-year-old bogeyed each of his first four holes and then ran up a double-bogey seven on the sixth to be six over par after six holes.
A birdie on the ninth halted the downward spiral and Westwood picked up further shots on the 12th and 14th to climb back to three under par.
That meant the three main contenders for the Order of Merit - Westwood, Harrington and their Ryder Cup team-mate Robert Karlsson - were all on the same score.
Harrington was also three over for the day after going to the turn in 40 but matching Westwood's birdie on the 12th, while Karlsson was out in 41 before a birdie on the 11th.
Germany's Martin Kaymer, who missed out on a Ryder Cup place by just £36,000, held a slender lead on seven under par, the 23-year-old coping well with the conditions with just one birdie and one bogey in his first 10 holes.
Sweden's Jarmo Sandelin, a former Ryder Cup player now engaged in an annual struggle to keep his card, had moved into second place on six under courtesy of one birdie and one bogey in his first eight holes at Carnoustie.