There was a point yesterday during the third round of the Betfred British Masters when you felt the entire population of Southport was shoe-horned into Hillside.

An 18,000 sell-out were predominantly there to urge on local lad Tommy Fleetwood but the Scottish double act of Richie Ramsay and Robert MacIntyre revelled in the atmosphere too and kept up the push for a third tartan triumph on the European Tour this season.

While Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult and Englishman Matt Wallace lead the way on 14 under heading into today’s closing round, Ramsay and MacIntyre are both lurking menacingly at 12 and 11-under respectively.

Ramsay, who notched the last of his three tour wins in 2015, kept himself in the thick of it with a spirited one-under 71 in the bright and breezy conditions while Oban rookie MacIntyre earned a final round grouping with star attraction Fleetwood after a 68.

“It’s going to be huge for me and my caddie as well as we are both still learning the ropes out here,” said MacIntyre, who was paired with Fleetwood this season in Abu Dhabi.

The following for that particular group today will be broadly equivalent to a scene from a DeMille epic but MacIntyre, 22, will savour the situation. He certainly did yesterday.

“I loved it out there and at one point I turned to my caddie and said ‘how cool is this?’,” added the former Scottish Amateur champion of the keen galleries in this great golfing heartland.

Four birdies on his opening six holes had MacIntyre making purposeful strides up the order but it was a canny two putt from off the green on the first hole to safeguard his par which provided a solid foundation for that early thrust. “That was a big moment and really settled me down,” he said.

Ramsay, meanwhile, had stumbled to a bogey on his opening hole but back-to-back birdies at the fifth and the sixth got him back on track. A double-bogey on the 10th was a bit of a scunner but he began the salvage operation immediately with a birdie on the next.

“I was pleased with the way I responded,” said Ramsay, who dragged himself back into red figures in the remaining holes and came within a whisker of a hole-in-one on the 16th when his 6-iron tee-shot skirted the cup.

Ramsay finished with a good two-putt from distance on the last for his par. The little fist pump when that one dropped summed up the importance of the moment.

“Those can be quite big and that putt just gives me that momentum going into the last round,” he said.

Like MacIntyre, Ramsay was carried along by the enthusiastic support.

“This feels like a big event,” he said. “Some of the greens feel like cauldrons and you can hear roars from elsewhere. There are venues we go to on the tour where there are sometimes not many spectators. But this really gets the juices going.”

With a trio of tour wins behind him, Ramsay knows how to get the job done and he is ready to embrace the challenge again on the final day.

“The aim is to put myself in a position for the back nine,” he said. “That’s when the pressure comes and I love the pressure. You want to feel the butterflies in your belly. That’s why it’s so enjoyable to be out here playing against some of the best in the world.

“Hopefully I’ll be in the mix coming down the stretch and when you put yourself in there, then you’re only going for one thing.”

A win for Wallace today would see him reach five wins in just 63 European Tour starts. Only Sandy Lyle managed that feat quicker having achieved the haul in 61 tournaments.

A dropped shot on the 12th was Wallace’s first of the week and a double-bogey on the 15th didn’t help his tilt as he posted a 70. Kinhult, meanwhile, also leaked two shots on the 15th but rallied with a brace of birdies at 16 and 17 in a 68.

Fleetwood, the tournament host, gave the locals plenty to shout about with a rousing run which included an eagle and three birdies on his last eight holes in a 68 to sit in a share of fourth on 11 under.

“I’d been pretty slow for two-and-a-half days but got something going” he said. “I wanted to give them something to cheer about.”

There should be a few more cheers and roars today.