(Reuters) - Stephen Gallacher's attempt to secure a last-gasp place in Europe's Ryder Cup team will go right down to the wire after he moved within six strokes of the lead in the Italian Open third round in Turin on Saturday.
The Scot, who needs to finish in the top two this week to displace Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell in the nine qualifying positions for next month's matches at Gleneagles, stayed in touching distance of pacesetting South African Hennie Otto with a 69.
"The worst thing I could have done was allow a big gap to open that was insurmountable," Gallacher told reporters after finishing with a 10-under total of 206. "I've not done that so a good day tomorrow and I am still right in there.
"It's all to play for. You never know what happens in this game. I just need to go out and try and get as many birdies as possible and see what happens.
"This is the only time in my career that I would be happy not to win a golf tournament. Second will do me fine."
Otto, who had problems with the back he has twice had surgery on this year, posted a 71 for 200 to go two strokes clear of second-placed Scot Richie Ramsay (66).
"It was a rough day," said the South African. "My back started to tighten after eight holes but I managed to get it round even though I couldn't swing properly.
"It's uncomfortable but not painful enough to stop me playing," added the 2008 Italian Open champion. "I was in serious pain before the operations but this is nothing like that and I can get it fixed with some stretching and physio."
Austrian Bernd Wiesberger (71) is in third place on 203 while English pair Lee Slattery (67) and Ross Fisher (70) were tied for fourth on 205.
Writing by Tony Jimenez, editing by Pritha Sarkar