Delgany's Mark Staunton and Waterville's David Higgins shot two-under-par 69s to give Ireland a commanding six-shot lead heading into Saturday's final round of the 2017 International Team Championship at Costa Navarino in Greece.
With just two scores to count, a one-under 70 by Tulfarris Resort's Simon Thornton was discarded after Higgins and Staunton extended Ireland's lead.
Bidding to win the event for the first time since 2008, Ireland were two strokes ahead of Scotland before extending their lead thanks to their four-under par tally, which was the joint lowest of the day.
“I'm finally getting the hang of the greens here at the Dunes Course, they are slick and have lots of slopes,” Galway native Staunton said.
“It was great for us as a team to be in a strong enough position to be able to discard Simon's score today. Hopefully, we will be just as steady in tomorrow's final round.”
The last Irish team to win the ITC title in 2008 featured John Kelly (St Margaret's Golf &CC), Robert Giles (Greenore) and Eamonn Brady (Clontarf).
International Team ChampionshipLeading scores (after 54 holes)
- 1 Ireland -11
- 2 Scotland -5
- 3 Holland -4
- T4 Wales +2
- T4 Greece+2