Ireland go into the final day of the European Nations Championship with high hopes of a podium finish as a team. But there's also an excellent chance that Naas' Jack Hume can finish in the top three at La Reserva in Sotogrande after a day of gentle breezes and glorious Spanish sunshine on the Cadiz coast.
Despite greens have become bumpy and inconsistent, driving more than one player to distraction, conditions were ideal for scoring with Hume posting a one under par 71 to go into the final day tied for third place on six over 222, seven shots behind Mario Galiano of Spain (74-70-71), who leads by two shots on 215 from Dutchman Robbie Van West.
Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell (71) was among the three counting scores on a day when Ireland posted the third best, round three team total (five over) behind the Netherlands (one under) and Spain (four over) but still slipped to fifth place overall, 10 strokes behind England, who lead by four from Spain.
However, with wind and rain forecast for Saturday, second place is still within Ireland's grasp if they play to their potential. And they will be looking for another good day from Campbell, who posted a 74 on Friday — his best of the week — to share 36th in the individual standings with Gary Hurley (81) on 237.
Campbell struggled again on the front nine and reached the turn in 41 with a poor run from the fourth, going bogey, double, bogey, par, bogey, par.
But he then played some great golf on the back nine, recording birdies on the 10th, 11th, 13th, and 15th. His only blemish came on the 17th, where his approach found the water. But he got up and down for bogey and played the last in regulation.
Hurley and Gavin Moynihan were paired together and while the latter played reasonably well, he had a poor putting day and managed only one birdie, at seventh, against dropped shots at the third, fifth, sixth, 11th and 12th.
The 18th epitomised his round, after a fabulous approach to 3 feet, his putt never touched the hole and he left the course very frustrated after a 76 that left him tied 16th in the individual standings on 14 over par 230.
Hurley had a miserable day, and having started bogey- bogey, he drove out of bounds on the fourth for a double and also doubled the fifth when he found the bushes beside the green.
To his credit, he never stopped trying but his 81 was a round to forget.
The best Irish score of the day came from Hume, who played very solidly all day and caught the eye of the Walker Cup selectors with some excellent course management — a facet of the game that will be hugely important at bunker-strewn Royal Lytham and St Annes.
His round of 71 included five birdies — at the second, fourth, seventh, 13th and 14th — offset by bogeys at the first, third, sixth and 12th.
While he missed great chances on the 15th, 16th and 17th, he is now lying in joint third position in the individual on six over and within striking distance of a confidence boosting performance ahead of next week's Spanish Amateur Championship.