Alan Dunbar hit a second successive 69 to lead the Irish bid to come through the First Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School at Section A venue The Roxburghe.
The 2012 British Amateur champion, 25, is three stroke behind Welsh leader Rhys Enoch, tied for third on six under after making made an eagle, three birdies and two bogeys at the Scottish resort where the Top-18 and ties after four rounds will progress to the Second Stage at four Spanish venues in November.
And so far it’s good news for five irish players with Jonny Caldwell (71-69) tied eighth on five under, Rory McNamara (70-72) tied 11th on two under, and Warrenpoint amateur Colm Campbell (71-72) tied 15th on one-under with rookie pro Gary Hurley (71-72) on one under.
Fresh from his heroics in last weekend’s Walker Cup win at Royal Lytham and St Annes, Hurley had three birdies and three bogeys in a level par round while Campbell birdied the par-five seventh and 14th in a two-bogey round.
Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick (73-71) is just one stroke outside the top 18 and ties on level par while Headfort’s Brian Casey (75-70) made a tremendous comeback to haul himself back into contention.
The Europro Tour regular made an early birdie at the 11th, his second, but after going bogey, double bogey at the 13th and 14th to slip to five over, he stormed home in 32 thanks to birdies at the fourth and fifth and an eagle three at the seventh.
Lucan’s Richie O’Donovan (72-75) is tied 40th on three over with Stackstown’s Richard Bridges (74-75) tied 52nd.
Ballymena amateur Dermot McElroy crashed to eight over after a 78, racking up a quintuple bogey nine at his third hole of the day.
Simon Ward also had a nine, at the par five 14th, in a 79 that left him 75th in the field on 12 over.
There is just one Irish player in action at Fleesensee in north east Germany, where the top 23 players and ties will qualify.
However, Mount Juliet’s Stephen Grant improved just one spot to tied 57th on three over despite a one under 71.