England's Luke Donald headed a trio of Britons by two shots after round three of the Dunhill Links Championship.
L Donald (Eng) CA-15
I Poulter (Eng) CA, D Howell (Eng) CA, G McDowell (NI) KB-14
S Gallacher (Sco) SA-12
M Fraser (Aus) KB, A Cabrera (Arg) CA, E Els (SA) CA, J Bickerton (Eng) KB
SA - St Andrews; KB - Kingsbarns; CA - Carnoustie
Donald fired a 68 at Carnoustie to go to 17 under par and lead English duo Ian Poulter (65) and David Howell (71) and NI's Graeme McDowell (67).
Scot Stephen Gallacher climbed to 14 under as Ernie Els edged closer after a 68 for 12 under.
In the team event, Gallacher and financier Sir Martyn Arbib led by one from among others Gianluca Vialli.
The top 60 pros and top 20 teams made the cut for the last 18 holes at St Andrews.
Donald, who earned Europe two-and-a-half points at Oakland Hills, cancelled out a bogey with five birdies as he chased a third win for the season.
TEAM EVENT LEADERBOARD
G Vialli/Canonica, C Heatley/Couples-25
R Hissom/O'Hara, SL Jackson/Howell
-23 K Dev/Karlsson, D Hopper/Poulter
-22 R Underwood/Yates, I Botham/Woosnam
-21 D Torrance/Torrance
-19 K Costner/Harrington
-18 J Kidd/Montgomerie, M Douglas/Levet
-17 M Pinsent/Baker, H Grant/Casey
Amateur names first
Poulter, who blazed eight birdies at Carnoustie, said: "There's a nice little Ryder Cup grouping at the top of
"It's great to see Luke and David up there with me and it's great for
"The Ryder Cup was a great boost but it's time to move on
now to try to win tournaments."
On 12 under was the quartet of Els, Marcus Fraser, Angel Cabrera and John Bickerton, while Ian Woosnam, Lee Westwood and Fred Couples were among those on 11 under.
US Open champion Retief Goosen carded 69 at Carnoustie for 10 under as world number one Vijay Singh, Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke were in a group another shot further back.
But Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Sam Torrance and former Open champion Ben Curtis were among those who missed the cut.
In the team competition, supermodel Jodie Kidd, actors Michael Douglas, Kevin Costner and Hugh Grant, rower Matthew Pinsent, former Liverpool star Kenny Dalglish and England cricket captain Michael Vaughan all missed the cut.
Overnight leader Howell, who was third behind Els in Ireland last week, is chasing his first victory in five years.
The Ryder Cup star, who fought back from a double bogey at the par-four fifth at Carnoustie, said: "It took a long time to get round here and find my rhythm.
really struggled with the course and it was tough out there.
"I am hitting the ball well but I made a couple of mental errors and had a
bit of indecision so I am pleased to be still in there.
"I have not won for a few years but Luke is on a great run and has won a few
times this year so he's going to be tough to catch.
"But I always do well at St Andrews and I fancy my chances of doing well and
hopefully if I can do that again that will be enough to win."
US-based Donald vowed to continue to play in both Europe and USA next year after being persuaded to play his quota in Europe this time to make the Ryder Cup side.
"It was beyond my wildest dreams that I could go this far," he
"It's got me to 30th on the world rankings and opened some
doors for me and I'll definitely be playing my 11 events here