Irish hopefuls Niall Kearney and Niall Turner must break par on the final day if they are to win their Asian Tour cards at Qualifying School finals in Thailand.
Only the top 40 and ties will earn full playing rights on the Asian circuit this season and with 50 players at two under or better, the former amateur stars need to put some birdies on the board at Springfield Royal Country Club on Saturday morning. Scores
Dubliner Kearney is the best placed of the two after a third successive 72 moved him up from 89th to tied 62nd on level par - two shots outside the current qualifying mark.
But it was a tough day at the office for Muskerry’s Turner who slipped from 39th to 80th on one-over after a four-over 76.
The former Irish Close runner up bogeyed three of his last five holes and only made 54-hole cut for the top 80 and ties on the mark.
Dodge Kemmer of the United States and Japanese pair Yosuke Tsukada and Masanori Kobayashi are tied for the lead on 11-under par 205.
Tsukada, the opening round leader, credited the experience of playing on the Asian Development Tour for his solid performance this week. The Japanese is determined to bury his demons from last year, when he missed the top-40 and ties by two shots.
“I still can’t believe I’m on top of the leaderboard. My putting has been great this week,” Tsukada said. “The ADT is a good stepping stone for players such as myself. I gained some confidence on the ADT and now I feel like a brand new Tsukada.”
Scotland’s James Byrne, a member of last year’s winning Walker Cup side, slipped back from ninth to tied 27th on four-under after a 75.