Waterville’s David Higgins is the leading Irish player at Wychwood Park.Paul Cutler’s European Tour career remains on hold after the former Walker Cup star missed the 54-hole cut at the First Stage of the Qualifying School for the second year in a row.

The 23-year old from Portstewart added a third round 78 to previous efforts of 78 and 73 to finish on 13 over par in the Section B qualifier at Wychwood Park in Cheshire. Scores

The top 23 and ties will progress to November’s Second Stage but only those within seven shots of the qualifying mark get to compete in today’s final round, leaving Cutler out in the cold by two strokes.

England’s Rob Harris (73) leads on five under par with Waterville’s David Higgins leading a group of six Irish players inside the four over par qualifying mark after a 69 left him tied for fourth on two under.

Ulster’s Jonny Caldwell (68) and Barrie Trainor (70) are joint eighth on one-under while reigning British Amateur champion Alan Dunbar followed his second round 66 with a 75 to remain inside the qualifying places in tied 11th on level par.

Newlands’ Cian Curley (73) and Bushfoot’s David Jones (70) are also inside the mark in joint 14th on two over with Old Conna’s Donal Gleeson, the only other Irish player to make the cut,  four shots outside the magic number on eight over after a 73.

Finnish amateur Tapio Pulkkanen leads the race to finish amongst the top 24 and ties at Fleesensee in Germany after a seven under 65 left him four shots clear on 16 under par. Scores

Dubliner Niall Kearney is a shot outside the qualifying places in joint 26th on two under par after a third round 73 featuring four birdies and five bogeys.

The 54-hole cut fell at four over par and while former professional footballer Stephen Grant survived with two shots to spare after a 72, the 35-year old from Birr is five shots outside the qualifying places and now needs a low final round to make it to the Second Stage in Spain.

Athenry’s Shane Franklin finished near the back of the field on 19 over after a third round 76.