Padraig Harrington is taking nothing for granted despite carving out a massive six-shot lead in the Irish PGA Championship at The European Club.

The Dubliner is just one round away from lifting his fifth domestic title in the space of a decade after one-under par 70 left him on level par going into today's final round.

Harrington is using the Irish championship as a competitive warm-up for his Open Championship defence at Royal Birkdale next week.

But second placed Philip Walton has vowed to make him work as hard as possible for the title when they go head to head in the final round at the pristine Brittas Bay links.

Despite failing to putt well in a third round 73, Walton is Harrington nearest rival on six-over par with Waterville's David Higgins (69), Eamonn Darcy (73) and Robert Giles (75)  eight strokes off the pace on eight-over par. 

"I'd be happy if I could start holing a few putts," said Walton, who is also bidding for his fifth domestic title. "I'll give him a run. He's not going to come here and get it easy."

Happy with his Open build-up, Harrington is fully aware that anything can happen at The European Club after struggling in the early stages of his third round.

"It is not a foregone conclusion," Harrington said. "Philip or anybody else could have a good day and I could have an average day. 

"I would hope that I can win from this position. But if it was a foregone conclusion, they could give me the trophy now. 

"I could wake up in the morning with a sore neck, you never know. Even golfing wise it is not too hard to go out there and shoot 75 in reasonable conditions. I was two over after four today."

Harrington had to work hard to beat Walton by a shot when they went head to head for the Irish PGA title at St Margarets in 2004.

And he will have to play his best golf again if he is to beat Walton to the punch in their bid to win five Irish PGA titles.

With the greens running quicker than they had on the first two days, Harrington bogeyed the second and fourth to see his three-stroke overnight lead cut to a single shot.

After a brilliant birdie at the seventh and a bogey at the ninth, he moved five strokes clear of the field with an eagle three at the 13th before converting a 15 footer at the 17th for a six-stroke lead.

Happy that his game is almost ready for the Open, Harrington said: "I made a slow enough start and I was a couple over so it was nice to come back from that. 

"I was trying hard to get it back under par which was the target for the day and I was close enough to that. 

"There wasn't too much wind but enough to make you think on every shot. So this is ideal preparation.

"I am certainly not unhappy. I am looking forward to doing a bit of work with Bob Rotella next week and just settling down a  few issues in my own head. This week has been good and I would like to be more like this all the time." Irish PGA Championship, The European Club (Par 71)
After 54 holes
213 P Harrington (Unattached) 75, 68, 70.
219 P Walton (Unattached) 73,73,73;
221D Higgins (Waterville) 80,72,69; E Darcy (La Sella) 75,73,73; R Giles (Greenore) 73,73,75;
222 J Dignam (Slade Valley) 78,72,72;
223 G Robinson (Coollattin) 77,73,73; E Brady (Clontarf GC) 74, 72, 77.
224 W O'Callaghan (Carrighdoun GR) 75,76,73;
226 D Mortimer (Team Ireland) 74,78,74; B McGovern (Headfort) 76,74,76; D Mooney (Nevada Bobs) 80,71,75;
228 E Tracey (Ballina) 76,78,74; M Staunton (Black Bush) 81,74,73;
230 S Thornton (Royal Co Down) 77,77,76; J Kelly (St Margaret's) 76,75,79; M Collins (Mallow DR) 72,77,81;
232 G Burke (Curragh) 78,77,77;
234 D McNamara (Portmarnock) 82,76,76; C McVitty (Bundoran) 78,78,78; P Martin (Riverside Academy) 79,74,81;
235 A Murray (Greystones) 84,75,76; J Dwyer (Ashbourne) 78,81,76; J Langan (Leopardstown Golf Ctr) 79,78,78;
237 J Geraghty (Old Conna) 83,78,76; J Heggarty (Claremorris) 80,76,81;
238 C Mallon (Narin & Portnoo) 81,79,78; B Kelleher (Golf Works Cork) 84,73,81; G Lunney (Naas) 76,78,84; I Kerr (Carlow DR) 82,74,82;
239 J Foster (Greenacres) 81,79,79; E O'Connor (Kilkenny) 71,88,80; M Mulryan (Athenry) 84,73,82;
240 L Walker (Dundalk) 82,79,79; DP (Royal Portrush) 82,77,81; T Higgins (TH Golf) 75,81,84; S Deegan (Spawell) 79,74,87;
241 J Fay (Co Meath) 80,80,81; F Howley (Carton House) 87,73,81; B Kerley (Greenlife GR) 86,74,81; P Jones (Coollattin) 78,80,83; K O'Neill (Co Sligo) 75,81,85;
242 D Hughes (Portadown) 82,78,82; K Grealy (Athlone) 81,79,82;
243 D Byrne (Unattached) 78,80,85;
244 M McTernan (Co Sligo) 80,78,86; J Bolger (KilkennY) 77,80,87;
245 J Murray (Malahide) 79,81,85; ;
246 P Hanna (Fortwilliam) 81,80,85;
NR N Graham (Kirkistown Castle).