Cork's Denis O'Sullivan found his putting touch to trail Paraguay’s Angel Franco by two strokes heading into the final round of the OKI Castellόn Senior Tour Championship.
With five runner up finishes in two years on the senior circuit, including two this season, Franco is set to capture his maiden title after cardeing a battling 70 in windy conditions at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo to move to ten under par.
“It was a different course today as the wind made it difficult,” said Franco. “I putted badly as it was too windy and difficult.
“It was difficult golf but I fought to get a positive score. I had to concentrate a lot because of the wind.
“I’m feeling happy and relaxed but there’s one more day to go. I’m very excited about tomorrow.
“I’m trying to stop finishing second and I’m look forward to tomorrow’s round. I would love to have my first win at Victor Garcia’s golf course.”
O’Sullivan’s return to form with the putter continued as he carded six birdies in his second consecutive round of 68.
The 61 year old, who is chasing his seventh Senior Tour victory and first since 2005, has changed his putting technique this week to use only his dominate eye when lining up.
“It’s obviously working for me unless it’s just in my head,” he said. “Putting is the part of the game I was good at when I first turned professional but it hasn’t been great of late so it’s nice to get it back.
“I probably won’t be able to putt as well when I’m under pressure tomorrow but if I can I’ll have a chance.
"It’s great to be contending again. When I first came on the Senior Tour I was in the final groups all the time but I haven’t been for a while so it feels good.”
Des Smyth followed his opening 66 with a 77 to slip back to one under par with Jimmy Heggarty and Eamonn Darcy on level after rounds of 75 and 72.
Meanwhile the race for the Senior Tour Order of Merit looks like going right to the wire with Sam Torrance keeping his hopes alive with a one under par 71 to lie four strokes back in a share of fifth place.
The Scot needs to finish in at least the top four to edge past fellow former Ryder Cup winning Captain Ian Woosnam, who carded a second consecutive level par round of 72.
“I played the best I have done all season from tee to green but I couldn’t hole a thing,” said Torrance. “I missed five putts from inside five feet and ten from inside ten. I’ve still got a good chance tomorrow though so we shall see what happens.”
Englishman Carl Mason, who is on five under par, and compatriot Glenn Ralph, who is a shot further back, are also still in contention to win the Order of Merit, which Woosnam will be hoping to retain.
134 A Franco (Par) 64 70,
136 Denis O'Sullivan (Irl) 68 68,
137 M Cunning (USA) 72 65, M Harwood (Aus) 65 72,
138 S Torrance (Sco) 67 71,
139 B Longmuir (Sco) 71 68, C Mason (Eng) 68 71, G Brand (Eng) 69 70, J Bruner (USA) 67 72, J Quiros (Esp) 71 68,
140 M Clayton (Aus) 70 70, G Ralph (Eng) 70 70, D Hospital (Esp) 71 69, J Rivero (Esp) 69 71, R Drummond (Sco) 66 74,
141 J Chillas (Sco) 69 72, N Job (Eng) 70 71, B Cameron (Eng) 71 70,
142 G Brand Jnr (Sco) 68 74, D Merriman (Aus) 73 69, R Chapman (Eng) 71 71, K Tomori (Jpn) 72 70, K Spurgeon (Eng) 73 69, C Rocca (Ita) 69 73, M Piñero (Esp) 70 72, C Williams (RSA) 72 70,
143 Des Smyth (Irl) 66 77, E Rodriguez (Esp) 72 71, G Cali (Ita) 74 69,
144 L Carbonetti (Arg) 69 75, Jimmy Heggarty (Nir) 69 75, Eamonn Darcy (Irl) 72 72, P Mitchell (Eng) 69 75, I Woosnam (Wal) 72 72,
145 A Murray (Eng) 72 73, T Johnstone (Zim) 71 74,
146 D Cambridge (Jam) 76 70,
147 V Garcia (Esp) 76 71, J Bland (RSA) 69 78,
150 B Lincoln (RSA) 76 74, B Smit (RSA) 75 75,
157 G Hopkins (USA) 80 77,