|Scottish Open, third round|
|-9 A Dodt (Aus), C Shinkwin (Eng), I Poulter (Eng); -7 A Sullivan (Eng); -6 J Carlsson (Swe), P Dunne (Ire), R Fox (NZ)|
|Selected others:-5 G McDowell (NI), M Kuchar (US), R Fowler (US); -2 R Ramsay (Sco)|
Ian Poulter withstood foul conditions at Dundonald Links to join playing partner Callum Shinkwin and Australia’s Andrew Dodt as joint-leaders going into the final day of the Scottish Open.
The Englishman’s third-round 71 puts him at nine under par and in contention for his first victory since 2012.
His countryman Andy Sullivan shot the lowest score of the day, a five under par 67, to leave him two shots adrift.
“It was brutal at times,” said Poulter, who recently qualified for the Open.
Halfway joint-leader Padraig Harrington fell out of contention after struggling to a 79 in conditions that reminded Poulter of the final round of the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale, where the pair finished first and second.
He said: “Days like today don’t come around very often and I can think back to Birkdale on that Sunday, which were some of the toughest conditions I’ve ever played in. This would slide along right with it.
“It’s just nice to be in a good position. I feel energised and excited about the golf I’ve been playing. There’s life in the old dog yet and I’m relishing the opportunity to go out and get stuck in.
“My whole family are up here, which is really nice. The last trophy I handed to [eldest son] Luke was on his birthday. I told him before I went out to play I’d hand him a trophy and I did.”
Poulter’s last tournament victory was the WGC Champions in Shenzhen, China, in November 2012.
He added: “It would be awesome to win again. I’ve got 18 good holes to play and try to do that and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
Ireland’s Paul Dunne, Sweden’s Johan Carlsson and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox sit in a group on six under, well within striking distance of victory at the Ayrshire course.
Shinkwin carded a third round of 72, the highlight of which was a tap-in eagle on the 14th.
“It’s the first time I’ve played with Ian and we dragged each other along, which was good fun,” he said.
“I don’t think I’ve played in wind and rain like that before. It was coming down at a really bad angle, especially the mid-part of the round, but I managed to grind it out and get through level par.”
Shinkwin and Dodt are in pole position to claim two of the three Open places up for grabs for non-exempt players who finish in the top 10, but that would require a major change of plans for the Australian.
Dodt, 31, and his wife Ashleigh have a five-day holiday booked in New York, starting on Monday, but he said: “My wife only flew in from Sydney this morning but I’ll be quite happy to cancel the holiday for a spot in the Open, my first major.”