Resurgent Shaw just off off the pace in Belgium
 Scotland's Jamie McLeary co leads in Belgium. Gareth Shaw is one back.

Scotland's Jamie McLeary co leads in Belgium. Gareth Shaw is one back.

Two years ago he was on the verge of playing his way onto the European Tour. He came up just short, lost form and suffered injuries but Lurgan’s Gareth Shaw is showing signs that’s he’s getting back to his best.

On Sunday he’ll go into the final round of the Challenge Tour’s KPMG Trophy just one stroke behind co-leaders Jamie McLeary and Charles-Edouard Russo, searching for a maiden win that would give him a great chance of achieving his tour dream.

After suffering an early season back injury, 29-year old Shaw has been showing signs for some weeks that he is running into form.

Four rounds in the 60s in Austria two weeks ago gave him a share of 22nd, which was his best performance since he was 12th in the Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle last September.

Tied for 28th at halfway at Golf de Pierpont in Belgium this week, Shaw birdied the second, third, 15th and 16th for an immaculate, four under 68 that left him tied for four players on seven under.

The former amateur star is a lowly 109th in the money list, which awards cards to the Top 15 at the end of the season, bit knows he can make a huge leap with a win or a good finish.

Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee is ranked ninth in what is know as the Road to Oman ranking and he has another chance to improve his position in Belgium after a one under 71 left him just two off the pace on six under.

Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick (73) is tied 48th on one over with Birr’s Stephen Grant (75) tied 64th on four over with The Island’s David Rawluk a shot further back after a 76.

Scot McLeary felt right at home as a two under par 70 on a blustery day left the 34-year old tied for the lead with Frenchman Russo on eight under with Shaw, Alexander Björk, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez and Taco Remkes a shot back on seven under.

The scoring was notably higher on day three as gusty winds swirled around the Belgian venue, but McLeary took full advantage having learned his trade on the links courses of his home country.

“It’s just like playing links golf here so it suits me,” said McLeary, whose only Challenge Tour title came in the Scottish Highlands in 2009. 

“The changes in wind, the firm conditions. The bunkering is not as severe as we have in Scotland and the greens are a bit softer here, but apart from that it’s practically the same.

“If it’s as windy as this tomorrow, I know that two under will be up there. If it’s calm, it becomes a much easier course and I imagine I’ll have to shoot something in the mid-60s to win.

“The first three holes are good birdie, maybe even eagle, chances, and then it becomes a brute.

“After I played the fifth and the seventh so well – two really tough holes – I thought there was a score out there. But maybe I was concentrating on the hard holes too much, because I bogeyed eight which is an easy hole straight down wind.

“I’m happy enough. I know if I play well I’ll be there or thereabouts.”

Round 3 scores:

208 J McLeary (Sco) 71 67 70, C Russo (Fra) 71 64 73, 

209 Gareth Shaw (Nir) 68 73 68, T Remkes (Ned) 67 67 75, A Björk (Swe) 71 67 71, S Garcia Rodriguez (Esp) 71 68 70, 

210 Ruaidhri McGee (Irl) 69 70 71, P Howard  (Eng) 71 69 70, O Bekker (RSA) 70 71 69, 

211 T Tree (Eng) 72 72 67, G Boyd  (Eng) 67 69 75, Z Scotland  (Eng) 71 69 71, T Gornik (Slo) 72 67 72, L Corfield  (Eng) 69 69 73, M Lafeber (Ned) 71 67 73, S Hodgson (Eng) 72 69 70, G Porteous (Eng) 72 68 71, S Heisele (Ger) 69 69 73, 

212 D Frittelli (RSA) 71 69 72, J Winther (Den) 65 69 78, R Davies (Wal) 73 70 69, A Hartø  (Den) 74 67 71, J Lima  (Por) 70 70 72, J Rask (Swe) 71 70 71, 

213 J Smith (Eng) 72 69 72, J Cafourek (Cze) 72 68 73, B Hemstock (Eng) 72 68 73, J Heath  (Eng) 71 66 76, 

214 M Trappel  (Aut) 71 67 76, N Kimsey (Eng) 71 70 73, Z Lombard  (RSA) 68 77 69, S Einhaus (Ger) 69 74 71, B Hafthorsson (Isl) 71 74 69, F Calmels  (Fra) 75 68 71, S Jeppesen  (Swe) 71 74 69, B Stow (Eng) 74 69 71, 

215 W Besseling  (Ned) 71 74 70, A Romano  (Ita) 70 70 75, A Eckhardt (Fin) 71 73 71, J Robinson (Eng) 73 69 73, D Huizing (Ned) 75 69 71, D Kemmer (USA) 71 71 73, M Röhrig (Ger) 68 74 73, D Ulrich (Sui) 72 70 73, P Whiteford (Sco) 68 72 75, J Stalter (Fra) 79 64 72, T Linard (Fra) 74 70 71, 

216 M Rominger  (Sui) 75 67 74, J Wilson (Aus) 71 73 72, A Domingo (Esp) 67 76 73, Richard Kilpatrick (Nir) 70 73 73, E Bertheussen (Nor) 68 73 75, C Hanson (Eng) 76 69 71, G Drakeford (Aus) 70 67 79, J Harrison (Eng) 72 71 73, T Pieters  (Bel) 76 69 71, 

217 P Dwyer (Eng) 70 70 77, E Dubois (Fra) 67 73 77, 

218 A Snobeck  (Fra) 70 69 79, J Colegate (Eng) 70 75 73, P Tarver-Jones (Eng) 72 73 73, J Billing (Swe) 70 73 75, J Glennemo (Swe) 67 78 73, 

220 A Gee  (Eng) 73 69 78, F Laporta (Ita) 75 70 75, Stephen Grant  (Irl) 74 71 75, C Aguilar  (Esp) 76 69 75, P Doherty (Sco) 69 75 76, 

221 J Watts (Eng) 69 75 77, David Rawluk (Irl) 75 70 76, C Brazillier  (Fra) 73 71 77, 

222 J Maw (Eng) 68 77 77.