Seven years after they played alongside Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy in the six-man team that won the European Amateur Team Championships, Richard Kilpatrick and Gareth Shaw continue to battle for their place in the sun.
Kilpatrick, winner of the East of Ireland and the Willie Gill winner in 2007, is just four shots behind pacesetter James Watts entering the final round of the PGA Europro Tour's Walk In My Shoes Open at Mont Wolseley in Carlow.
Second at Concra Wood last week, the 32-year old former Alps Tour Order of Merit winner fired a six under par 66 to sit alone in third place on eight under par.
Watts shot a second consecutive six-under-par 66 to lead by one from Stuart Archibald ((65) with Mick McGeady in fourth spot on six under.
Colm Moriarty (71) is tied 10th on three under with Jonny Caldwell, another member of that European Amateur Team Championship winning team, tied for 12th on two under afte a 69.
Mark Murphy (71) is tied 15th with Tim Rice (69) on one under with Stephen Grant tied 25th on level par after a 71.
Aaron Kearney (70/+1), Wayne Telford (71/+1), Brian Casey (73/+1), Niall Kearney (73/+2), and Cian Curley (75/+3) were the only other Irish players to make the cut.
Shaw, meanwhile, is tied for 61st with Ruaidhri McGee on level par after opening with a 72 in the inaugural Azerbaijan Golf Challenge Open.
A career first of two eagles in the same round enabled Jeff Winther to make a late charge into a share of first place alongside former Amateur champion Garrick Porteous and in-form Frenchman Edouard Espana.
Shaw had two sevens on his card, a double and a triple bogey, but also made an eagle an eagle and four birdies.
Another former Amateur champion, Rathmore's Alan Dunbar, is tied 84th after a 73 while rookie Reeve Whitson from Mourne opened with a four over 76 in his second start in the professional ranks having missed the cut on his Challenge Tour debut in France last week.
Whitson hopes to get seven Challenge Tour invitations.
Azerbaijan Golf Challenge Open, Rd 1
65 G Porteous (Eng), J Winther (Den), E Espana (Fra),
66 B Evans (Eng), A Johnston (Eng),
67 T Sluiter (Ned), J Edfors (Swe), B Chapellan (Fra),
68 G Lockerbie (Eng), A Björk (Swe), M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra),
69 W Besseling (Ned), N Holman (Aus), W Booth (Sco), J Rask (Swe), D Kemmer (USA), J Gonnet (Fra), J Lando Casanova (Fra), A Snobeck (Fra), J Stalter (Fra), N Lemke (Swe), M Lafeber (Ned), C Aguilar (Esp), A Hortal (Esp), A Velasco (Esp), J Makitalo (Fin),
70 E Dubois (Fra), D Coupland (Eng), A Tadini (Ita), K Pratt (Aus), M Wiegele (Aut), G Murray (Sco), A Rota (Ita), C Bouniol (Fra), R McEvoy (Eng), A McArthur (Sco), J Guerrier (Fra), L Gagli (Ita), T Lawrence (RSA), M Fitzpatrick (Eng), N Ravano (Ita), L Nemecz (Aut), G Cambis (Fra), L Corfield (Eng), D Gaunt (Eng),
71 D Ulrich (Sui), J Elson (Eng), P Edberg (Swe), A Kaleka (Fra), G Boyd (Eng), D Stewart (Sco), M Stewart (Sco), B An (Kor), T Pilkadaris (Aus), S Hutsby (Eng), P Relecom (Bel), M Tullo (Chi), L Kennedy (Eng), S Arnold (Aus), S Brown (Eng),
72 O Farr (Wal), S Little (Eng), G Shaw (Nir), B Hebert (Fra), W Harrold (Eng), D Law (Sco), M Lampert (Ger), P Widegren (Swe), P McKechnie (Sco), A Domingo (Esp), R McGee (Irl), B Ritthammer (Ger), R Coles (Eng), L Jensen (Den), J Roos (RSA), J Huldahl (Den), M Delpodio (Ita), C Paisley (Eng), P Oriol (Esp), N Johansson (Swe), A Marshall (Eng), C Shinkwin (Eng), H Porteous (RSA),
73 A Dunbar (Nir)
76 R Whitson (Nir)