Jonny Caldwell is ready to battle through the mental pain barrier to secure his European Tour card in Spain. Live scoring

But like Michael Hoey and Mick McGeady, he knows he will have to dig deep to finish in the magical top 30 and ties after the final round of the European Tour Qualifying School.

Tied for 15th with Hoey after a 70, Caldwell got his fifth round off to a rip-roaring start when he birdied the first and then holed out from 108 yards for a spectacular eagle two at the second.

But after struggling on the way home, he knows that  he will have to grind hard to secure his place on tour with pal Rory McIlroy.

Caldwell said: “It was a bit up and down after a great start. But on the whole I am happy with how I have played and the end is now in sight.

“The Q-School is not something you’d like to do every year but it’s my first time here and I know I have to go through this to get where I want to be.”

Hoey signed off on a high note when he hit an eight iron to three feet at the 18th for a 70 that left him alongside Caldwell on eight-under par.

And the Belfast ace knows that it will be a huge mental struggle to finish off the six-round marathon.

Hoey said: “Mentally and physically it is a very tough week but finishing with a birdie gives you an extra lift when you walk off and that keeps you going. It is probably the best I’ve played all week.”

While Caldwell and Hoey have room for error in the final round, McGeady bogeyed the first and double bogeyed the second before signing off with a bogey for a disappointing 74.

He slipped from tied 19th to joint 30th on five under par but is still inside the card places with 18 holes to play.

Royal County Down’s Simon Thornton’s hopes of earning his card suffered a reverse when he carded a 74 to slide to one-over par - six shots outside the card places.

Sweden’s Oskar Henningsson leads by two shots from Spain’s Carlos del Moral on 18-under par with former Ryder Cup stars Andrew Coltart and Joakim Haeggman tied for sixth place on 11-under.