Simon Thornton produced hot finish in Rome to remain on track for next week’s Challenge Tour Grand Final.
The overnight leader birdied three of his last four holes to post a three under par 69 and trail rankings leader and home favourite Edoardo Molinari by a shot in the €150,000 Italian Federation Cup at Olgiata.
Molinari, who has already won twice on the Challenge Tour this season, added a flawless 65 to his opening 66 to move one shot clear of Thornton, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts and Welshman Rhys Davies on 11 under par.
Players are jostling for 45 places in next week’s season-ending, €300,00 Grand Final at San Domenico Golf near Bari.
Thornton is 64th in the rankings but he knows that a top-five finish in Rome will be good enough to book his ticket to the final event.
Clandeboye’s Jonny Caldwell (118th), who must win to have a chance of qualifying for Bari, shot a 70 to trail Molinari by six shots on five under.
Glasson’s Colm Moriarty’s may need at least a share of eighth place to haul himself into the top 45 from 55th in the rankings.
And he is just three shots outside the top 10 after carding a one under par 71 to share 18th with 175th ranked Michael McGeady (69) on four under.