Ulsterman Jonny Caldwell is hoping to grab a tour card lifeline in the €150,000 Challenge of Ireland at Moyvalley.
The Clandeboye ace, 25, hit a four under par 68 at the Darren Clarke designed Champions Club to lurk a shot behind cool Swede Ake Nilsson in an eight-man logjam for second place.
Struggling to keep his card on the main tour, the former Walker Cup star hopes to take advantage to rocket up the Challenge Tour rankings and keep his hopes of retaining his card alive.
He’s currently 255th in the Race to Dubai but could jump into the top 15 in the Challenge Tour rankings and improve his card if he pockets the €24,000 winner’s cheque this week.
He said: “Overall I’ve got to be pleased with the way I’m playing now, because I had a tough start to the season. It’s slowly starting to come together now though.
“I’d like to have played a little better on the main tour so far but I have had plenty of chances, so I’m not complaining.
“I’m unlikely to get into the BMW International in Munich or the French Open or Loch Lomond. So I will play the co-sanctioned event in St Omer next week and the Challenge Tour event in Sweden after that.”
His first goal is to get into the to 100 on the Challenge Tour rankings so that he can play in lucrative end of season events in Kazakhstan and China.
Glasson’s Colm Moriarty hit a two under par 70 to share 11th place with Limerick’s Cian McNamara the only other Irishman under par after a 71.
Challenge of Ireland presented by Moyvalley, Champions Club at Moyvalley (Par 72)
67 Å Nilsson (Swe)
68 M Kramer (Ger), R Coles (Eng), P Kaensche (Nor) , C Monasterio (Arg) , P Baker (Eng) , J Caldwell (Nir) , J Etulain (Arg) , G Hutcheon (Sco) ,
69 G Woodman (Eng) ,
70 D Griffiths (Eng) , P Gustafsson (Swe) , M Haastrup (Den) , M Korhonen (Fin) , J Heath (Eng) , M Rodriguez (Arg) , J Hepworth (Eng) , R Steele (Eng) , A Marshall (Eng) , C Moriarty (Irl) , N Colsaerts (Bel) , C Carranza (Arg)
71 J Quesne (Fra) , J McLeary (Sco) , J Parry (Eng) , T Cruz (Por) , A Garcia-Heredia (Esp) , M Ruiz (Par) , R Davies (Wal) , C McNamara (Irl) , A Haindl (RSA) , K Jorgensen (Den) , J Olesen (Den) , G Clark (Eng) , P Whiteford (Sco)
72 C Devlin (Nir) , F Fritsch (Ger) , A McArthur (Sco) , N Turner (Irl) , J Mommo (Fin) , S Walker (Eng) , R Karlberg (Swe) , S Juul (Den) , L Kennedy (Eng) , R Treis (Ger) , F Calmels (Fra) , T Ferreira (RSA) , D Ulrich (Sui) , J Morrison (Eng) , T Whitehouse (Eng) , T Rice (Irl) , B Mason (Eng) , K Sullivan (Wal) , C Aguilar (Esp) , S Henry (Sco) , D Küpper (Ger) , J Billot (Fra) , A Mellor (Eng) , N Lemke (Swe) , J Abbate (Arg) ,
73 R Giles (Eng) , C Russo (Fra) , M Cort (Eng) , P Del Grosso (Arg) , S Arnold (Aus) , D Higgins (Irl) , P Streeter (Eng) , L James (Eng) , F Svanberg (Sui) , M Murphy (Irl) , M Curtain (Aus) , M Millar (Aus) , J Ruth (Eng) , D Hewan (RSA) , P Relecom (Bel) , R Harris (Eng) , J Little (Eng) , A Butterfield (Eng) , K Webber (Aus) , A Hansen (Den) , J Garcia Pinto (Esp) , L Saltman (Sco)
74 D Nouailhac (Fra) , D Wardrop (Eng) , M McDermott (Irl) , G Murray (Sco) , P Bocian (Swe) , D Denison (Eng) , C Gane (Eng) , J Boerdonk (Ned) , G Shaw (Nir) , E Ramsay (Sco) , J Kelly (Irl) , L De Jager (RSA) , A Bernadet (Fra) , M Zions (Aus) , A Murray (Irl) , S Thornton (Irl) , M McGeady (Irl)
75 C Phadungsil (Tha) , M Hooper (Eng) , S Jeppesen (Swe) , N Fox (Irl) , M Campbell (Irl) , G Houston (Wal) , R Gonzalez (Arg) , S Surry (Eng) , D Marmion (Eng) , A Mörk (Fra) , M Quiros (Esp) , S Saavedra (Arg) , S Grant (Irl) , M Mackenzie (Eng) , C Selfridge (am) (Irl) , M Durcan (am) (Irl)
76 P O'Hanlon (Irl) , S Manley (Wal) , S Robinson (Eng) , R Kilpatrick (Nir) , F Andersson Hed (Swe) , S Bebb (Wal) , J Kehoe (Irl) , M Mills (Eng) , A Oldcorn (Sco) , J Levermore (Eng) , L Westerberg (Swe) , R Santos (Por), M Ramsdale (Eng) , J Grillon (Fra) , L Brovold (Nor) , M Tullo (Chi) , A Grenier (Fra)
77 K Staunton (Eng) , J McCreadie (Sco) , A Willey (Eng) , M Laskey (Wal) , B Evans (Eng) , T Mullally (Irl) , J Moul (Eng) , P Reavey (am) (Irl) , D Reilly (am) (Irl)
78 D Froreich (Ger) , J Sköld (Swe) , R McEvoy (Eng) , A Tampion (Aus) , P Purhonen (Fin)
79 P O'Keeffe (Irl) , J Wahlqvist (Swe) , L Bond (Wal) , F Praegant (Aut) , V Riu (Fra) , A Bruschi (Ita) ,
80 M Pilkington (Wal) , A Thorpe (Eng) ,
81 O Suhr (Den) ,
83 O Floren (Swe)