Amateur Robin Dawson is just a shot outside the crucial top 21 and ties heading into the final round of the European Tour's First Qualifying Stage Section C test in Portugal
The Tramore man carded four birdies and three bogeys in a one-under 71 at Ribagolfe near Lisbon to share 22nd place on four-under-par.
Exactly 21 players are on five-under or better with Sebastian García Rodriguez leading by two strokes on 14-under from Australia's Dimitrios Papadatos.
Castleknock's David Carey made four birdies in a battling, two-under 70 to leap seven places to 27th, just two shots outside the mark.
Brendan McCarroll followed a double-bogey at the 17th with a bogey at the last and shot a costly 75.
But he still lies just three shots outside the qualifying places on two-under and showed his fighting qualities by battling back from three-over after four to be level with two to play.
At Golf d'Hardelot in northern France, Cian McNamara's hopes of winning Challenge Tour status are hanging by a thread after a 72.
The Limerick man is joint 43rd on two-over alongside Tim Rice, who shot 69, six strokes outside the top 21 and ties.
Frenchmen Franck Daux and Antoine Rozner share the lead on 13-under.