Ballymena's Dermot McElroy holds a one-stroke lead over The Island's Gavin Moynihan heading into Friday's final round of the Lookers Championship at Close House.
The 23-year old former West of Ireland champion added a three-under-par 68 to his opening 67 to lead on seven-under-par 135 in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Moynihan, 22, won two Irish Amateur Open titles and the Scottish Amateur Strokeplay and made two Walker Cup appearances in a stellar amateur career before turning professional.
He carded a second successive 68 in Thursday's second round to get within one of McElroy with Royal Dublin's Niall Kearney the next best of the Irish in 10th on two-under after rounds of 69 and 71.
Clandeboye's Jonny Caldwell is tied 17th on one-under with North West's Brian McElhinney back in 44th on one-over.
The Lookers Championship, Close House - Colt Course (Par 71
- 1 Dermot McElroy Ballymena Golf Club 67 68 135
- 2 Gavin Moynihan ISM 68 68 136
- T10 Niall Kearney The Royal Dublin 69 71 140
- T17 Jonathan Caldwell Clandeboye Golf Club 69 72 141
- T44 Brian McElhinney North West Golf Clu 72 71 143