By Brian Keogh
Big hitting Jamaican Delroy Cambridge drained a ten-foot birdie putt at the last to take a one stroke lead into the final round of the AIB Irish Seniors Open at Adare Manor.
The 6'2" giant carded a three under par 69 in testing conditions for a seven under par total and the narrowest of leads over Australian Noel Ratcliffe.
Needing a par five at the 544 yard 18th to match Ratcliffe's clubhouse total, he went one better when he punched a 133 yard eight iron at the flag to set up his fourth birdie of the day.
"I just wanted to give myself a chance of getting into contention," he beamed afterwards. "Tomorrow I'll just go out and enjoy it and see what happens."
Ratcliffe felt no ill effects from the shoulder injury that forced him to retire during last week's Benson and Hedges International the Belfry, one of his two wins on the main tour.
He went out in 33 thanks to a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh before playing the easier back nine in level for a 69 - one of just 11 sub par rounds yesterday.
American Bob Lendzion bogeyed the last for a 68 to finish on four under par while Scotland's Mike Miller posted a best of the day 67 to move into contention on three under.
However, the man they all have to watch today is Japan's Seiji Ebihara, who is chasing a hat trick of AIB Irish Seniors titles.
Despite struggling on the US Champions Tour, Ebihara has found some of his old form and he ominously birdied the last for a 71 to get within four shots of Cambridge.
"It won't be easy but I think I can win," Ebihara said. "The course is very difficult and that makes it easier to come from behind."
Ireland's Christy O'Connor Jnr struggled on the greens again and had to settle for a one under par 71 that leaves him ten strokes behind the leader and bitterly regretting his first round 76.
"I needed to shoot 67 or 68 today to get back into it but those double bogeys in the first round killed me," he said.
Sergio Garcia's father Victor brightened up proceedings early on when he holed his second shot to the 427 yard eighth for an unlikely eagle.
He was out in one under par 35 but the gloom soon decended when he took ten shots more in a back nine of 45 that featured six bogeys and a triple bogey seven at the penultimate hole.
Comeback of the day goes to black South African, Mokgeteng John Mashego, who could be forgiven for pondering what could have been after a quintuple bogey nine at the opening hole.
Short of the green in two, he pitched two balls into the stream that guards the putting surface before eventually single putting. "A very good start," he said with unrestrained irony.
A bogey at the third left him six over for his round after three holes, but he put together a tremendous run of figures to finish with a level par 72.
Despite bogeys at the third and eighth he turned in just three over thanks to birdies at the fifth and ninth and an eagle three at the long seventh.
Back to just one over par with further birdies at the 11th and 15th and then birdied the 17th for good measure to get back to level.
The par five 18th cost him an eight in the first round but he erred on the side of caution this time, reaching the green with a three iron-four iron-nine iron combination before missing a four footer for what would have been an incredible sub par round.
The Irish challenge never materialised as Denis O'Sullivan took 75 and 1998 champion Joe McDermott an 81.
Tyrone's Paul Leonard, three off the lead overnight, had to settle for a 77 after double bogeys at the eighth and 16th and a six at the last left him on four over par.
AIB Irish Seniors Open, Adare Manor (after 36 holes)
137 D Cambridge (Jam) 68 69
138 N Ratcliffe (Aus) 69 69
140 B Lendzion (USA) 72 68
141 M Miller (Scot) 74 67; S Ebihara (Jpn) 70 71
142 M Gray (Scot) 73 69; J Rhodes (Eng) 72 70; B Jones (Aus) 69 73; J Van Wagenen (USA) 68 74
143 J Bruner (USA) 73 70; D Durnian (Eng) 72 71; J Chillas (Scot) 72 71; A Tapie (USA) 70 73
144 G Encina (Chi) 74 70; I Mosey (Eng) 73 71
145 A Mew (T & T) 73 72; G Burns (USA) 73 72; D Taki (Jpn) 73 72; B Dassu 71 74;
146 B Hardwick (Can) 74 72; B Cameron (Eng) 74 72; A Croce (It) 70 76; S Stull (USA) 70 76
147 C O'Connor Jnr (Ire) 76 71; M Velasco (Sp) 75 72; K MacDonald (Eng) 74 73; M Gregson (Eng) 73 74; D Oakley (USA) 71 76; D Creamer (Eng) 70 77; G Wintz (USA) 68 79
148 T Gale (Aus) 74 74; B Larratt (Eng) 74 74; M Foster (Eng) 73 75; P Leonard (N Ire) 71 77; M Bembridge (Eng) 71 77; D Good (Aus) 69 79
149 J Mashego (SA) 77 72; D Jones (N Ire) 77 72; J Irwin (Can) 77 72; E Polland (N Ire) 76 73; B Gallacher (Scot) 75 74; D O'Sullivan (Ire) 75 74; R Weir (Scot) 75 74; N Clarke (SA) 75 74; L Higgins (Ire) 73 76
150 R Carrasco (USA) 74 76; B Brask (USA) 74 76; M Ferguson (Aus) 72 78
151 P Townsend (Eng) 77 74; H Carbonetti (Arg) 73 78; J Fourie (SA) 73 78; N Job (Eng) 72 79;
152 J McTear (Scot) 77 75; G Tickell (Wal) 73 79
153 G Cali (It) 77 76; P Diniz (Bra) 76 77; T Horton (Eng) 74 79
154 A Spring (Ire) 78 76; N Coles (Eng) 73 81; J McDermott (Ire) 73 81
155 S Wild (Eng) 82 73; C Defoy (Wal) 77 78; I Stanley (Aus) 76 79; *L MacNamara (Ire) 76 79; A Garrido (Sp) 75 80; R Campagnoli (It) 74 81
156 J Jimenez (Sp) 77 79
157 J Horton (USA) 76 81
158 P Dawson (Eng) 82 76; J Grace (USA) 80 78
160 M Murphy (Ire) 81 79
162 V Garcia (Sp) 82 80
170 D Huish (Scot) 83 87
Ret. I Richardson (Eng)
* Denotes amateur