Ballinasloe’s Mark Staunton retained his six shot lead entering the final round of the European Tour Qualifying School First Stage Section A in Scotland.
And his nearest rival is now Douglas talent Peter O’Keeffe who fired a six birdies in a brilliant 68 to claim solo second place on five under par at the Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course near Kelso.
Staunton, 30, posted a third round featuring three birdies and just one bogey to head the field on 11 under par in the race to finish in the leading nine players and ties.
The cut mark fell on nine over par, meaning a total of 28 players are still in with a chance of progressing to the Second Stage, including O’Keeffe’s close friend Mark Murphy of Waterville is just a shot outside the top nine on three over par.
Denied by his putter, Murphy had two bogeys and a birdie in a one over 73 to share 11th place on three over.
Belfast man Damian Mooney is two shots outside the qualifying place on four over after an adventurous 74.
After double bogey sixes at the first and second, the 42-year old birdied the sixth and seventh to turn in 38 and then birdied the 11th to get back to one over for the day.
But he played the last seven holes in one over with an eagle three at the 14th outweighed by bogeys at the 12th, 15th and 18th.
The top nine and ties from the Roxburghe will qualify for the Second Stage, which takes place from November 7-10 at Campo de Golf El Saler, Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, El Valle Golf Resort and Lumine Golf & Beach Club.
Approximately 310 players will line up at those four venues, with around 80 progressing through to the Final Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort from November 24-29 where the leading 25 players and ties will earn cards.
No Irish are in action at Golfclub Schloss Ebreichsdorf in Austria where home hope Jurgen Maurer leads by a shot on nine under despite carding a four over 73 in the third round.
Heavy overnight rain made for treacherous playing conditions and forced officials to reduce the course to a par 69, with only ten players in the 58-man field managing to break par in the battle for 15 places.