Shane Lowry remained on course for his first victory as a professional as Padraig Harrington went into reverse in the Portugal Masters at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course.
The Clara man - winner of the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009 - bogeyed the last but still carded a four under 67 to go into the final round just four shots behind Bernd Wiesberger on nine under par.
Six birdies in seven holes around the turn helped the Austrian, already a two-time winner on the European Tour this season, claim a one shot lead over Ross Fisher on 13 under thanks to a stunning 65
Lowry is tied for third with England’s Richard Finch and his third round playing partner, New Zealander Michael Campbell, who has not won on tour since he beat Paul McGinley in the final of the World Match Play at Wentworth seven years ago.
As for Harrington, the Dubliner was far from his best and while he birdied at the last for a level par 71, he slipped from fourth to tied 12th, seven shots off the pace.
Wayward over the opening holes, Harrington missed a four-foot par putt at the fourth after bunkering a wedge and then double bogeyed the seventh to slip out of contention.
And while he battled hard and came home in 33, he has now broken 70 in the third round in just six of the starts so far this season.
Lowry, on the other hand, has an outside chance of adding to his 2009 Irish Open success having come close to his first pro win when finishing joint second behind Wiesberger in the Lyoness Open in Austria at the end of July.
Playing alongside 2005 US Open champion Campbell, the 25-year old had six birdies against a solitary bogey at the ninth before a poor tee shot at the 18th saw him finish with a bogey.
And while he was disappointed to finish with a dropped shot for the second day running, the Co Offaly man believes he has every chance of winning again before he heads to the US for the first stage of the PGA Tour Q-School in Florida from October 24-27.
Lowry said: “Obviously I’m a bit disappointed with my bogey on the last. I hit my tee shot out of position and I was behind the black ball from that point.
“Myself and Michael played lovely golf all day. We went for it shot for shot so it was good fun out there today. But I’m in contention going into tomorrow, which is all I can ask for really.
“I feel confident. Four under is probably the worst score I could have shot today. I played lovely again and I feel that if I can go out and post a number tomorrow, you never know what could happen.”
Ranked 607th in the world, Campbell has not had a top ten finish on the European Tour since 2008, and two seasons ago made only one cut in 19 starts.
The Kiwi said: “It’s seven years since my last win and I was surprised how calm I was out there, but I’ve won enough around the world to know what to do, and I’m pretty excited about tomorrow.
“Over the last three or four years, I’ve put too much pressure on myself to perform. I’ve gone back to basics, and it’s fun once again.”
Finch – like Lowry, a former Irish Open winner – did not drop a shot in his 66 while Miguel Angel Jiménez, at 48 trying to become the oldest winner in European Tour history, finished with a 30-foot birdie putt for a round of 68, and is in joint sixth place with England’s Mark Foster on eight under.
Damien McGrane had a poor day on the green, slipping back to tied 40th on two under after a one over 72 with Michael Hoey (70) and Peter Lawre (72) a shot further back.
Struggling to take his chances, Lawrie was one under for his round playing the last but finished with a double bogey six.