Colm Moriarty shot a five under par 65 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA EuroPro Tour’s Sweetspot Classic at Longhirst Hall in Northumberland.
The Glasson touring professional, who took nine months off at the end of last season to re-ignite his competitive fire, leads on eight under from Paul McKechnie (66) with overnight leader Zack Saltman (71) a further shot back.
Moriarty was three under after the first round and got his second 18 underway with three consecutive birdies from the first. A bogey on the seventh was the first of two blemishes, with a shot also dropped on the 17th.
However, an eagle-two at the 11th and birdies at the 14th and 18th helped the former Walker Cup star - who shot a course record nine-under par 62 to win the PGA Newcastle West 75th Anniversary Tournament on Monday - take a one-stroke lead ahead of Friday’s third and final round.
Mick McGeady (66) and Mark Murphy (68) are the next best of the Irish, seven shots off the pace in joint 13th on one under.
Mark Staunton (75-74), Neil O Briain (74-76), tim Rice (73-78), Peter O’Keeffe (78-74), and Richard Weldon (79-74) missed the four over par cut.