San Roque - Mike Lorenzo-Vera holds a one-shot lead after Saturday's third round at the Spanish Open in his quest for a first European Tour title.
With conditions testing, the only players recording under par rounds were Joost Luiten and Alex Noren as Valderrama threatened to produce the first over par winner of a European Tour event since Justin Rose won the US Open in 2013.
The Biarritz-born Lorenzo-Vera's level par round of 71 left him at one over par.
Chasing the 31-year-old in a share for second are Luiten, two-time major championship winner Martin Kaymer and England's Andrew Johnston.
The Frenchman produced the highlight of the day as he holed his approach to the par five 17th for an eagle to spark a wild celebration and move him two ahead, before a bogey on the last cut the gap.
"I'm very excited," he said. "I'm going to have a big nap tonight because it takes so much energy to stay patient here.
"I'm just going to try to relax and enjoy it as much as I can tomorrow.
"I'm just trying to look at the pace of the leaderboard and accept that you're going to have a lot of bogeys here. A bogey on the hole is never really a bad score so you just try to accept it. Take the bogey and get out of there."
Lorenzo-Vera enjoyed his best ever European Tour season last term, finishing 78th on The Race to Dubai.
Defending champion James Morrison signed for a 74 to sit at three over alongside fellow Englishman Ross Fisher, with Spanish duo Pablo Larrazabal and Pep Angles a further shot back.
Leading third-round scores at the EPGA Spanish Open at Valderrama on Saturday (Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 71):
214 - Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA) 73 70 71
215 - Andrew Johnston 67 74 74, Joost Luiten (NED) 70 75 70, Martin Kaymer (GER) 69 75 71
216 - Ross Fisher 70 74 72, James Morrison 67 75 74
217 - Pep Angles (ESP) 72 71 74, Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 68 71 78
218 - Richard Bland 71 72 75, Alex Noren (SWE) 75 75 68, Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 76 71 71, Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 67 75 76
219 - Craig Lee 71 72 76, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP) 74 73 72, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 73 72 74, Nino Bertasio (ITA) 74 72 73
220 - Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 71 77 72, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 74 71 75, Johan Carlsson (SWE) 72 76 72
- Peter Hanson (SWE) 75 70 76, Ricardo Gouveia (POR) 72 74 75,
Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 70 79 72, Jordi Garcia Pinto (ESP) 69 75 77,
Adrian Otaegui (ESP) 74 76 71