LEEDS Golf Centre's Nigel Sweet has work to do in the European Senior Tour Qualifying School Final Stage if he is to gain one of five cards on offer.
The former Yorkshire champion took a backward step in the third round as he carded a five-over-par 76 in difficult conditions.
Only eight players managed to break par as a strong wind caused problems to many at Pestana Golf Resort’s Vale da Pinta course.
Sweet added the 76 to opening scores of 72 and 68, which took him back from a tie for eighth place to joint 14th place with a round to go.
On three over par overall, Sweet stands five shots back of those currently sharing fifth place. The top five after Thursday's round will gain places on this year's European Senior Tour, and a play-off will be held for the fifth and final card if necessary.
Sweet had five birdies in his final seven holes on his way to a three-under-par 68 on Tuesday.
But on Wednesday he could find only one birdie all day - at the 12th, which he has birdied all three days - and could not recover from a poor start that saw him accumulate three successive bogeys from the second hole. Further bogeys came at the seventh, 11th and 15th.
Sweden's Magnus P Atlevi will take a one-shot lead into the final round after a three-over-par 74 put him on five under par.
Hot on the 50-year-old's heels on four under par are American Chris Hunsucker and England’s Gary Marks, with only three other players – Jimmy Carter of America, Canadian Ken Tarling, the winner 12 months ago, and Ireland’s Brendan McGovern – under par after 54 holes.
The best round of the day came from English amateur Brad Smith, whose three-under-par 68 moved him into the top 10 on one over par.