West Waterford's Gary Hurley will be bidding to follow Walker Cup teammates Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan into the winner's circle when he goes into the final round of the Open de Portugal just two shots off the lead.
Portugal's José-Filipe Lima and Welshman Stuart Manley lead by one stroke on five-under-par from a seven-strong chasing posse with Hurley tied for tenth after a third round 74 at Morgado Golf Resort near Portimão.
Just one stroke behind Spain's Adri Arnaus overnight, Hurley started with a birdied but dropped shots at the fourth, sixth and eighth before getting back into the mix with an eagle three at the 10th.
However, the then bogeyed the 13th and followed a birdie at the next with bogeys at the 15th and par-three 17th.
Dermot McElroy is tied for 50th on three-over after a 74 with Chris Selfridge tied 60th ater a 75 and Stuart Grehan 64th after a 76.
Manley recovered from an opening bogey to card five birdies, his final gain of the day coming courtesy of a brilliant 25-foot putt the 16th hole, to sign for a four under par 68 – the best round of the day in the Algarve.
A four-time winner on the European Challenge Tour, Lima joined Manley at the top later in the day by bagging four birdies and a single bogey to go into the final round with an excellent chance of becoming the first Portuguese winner of his home open.
Arnaus as he dropped down the leaderboard with a two-over par 74 – his first over par round of the tournament.
After a long off-season where he had surgery to remove skin cancer from his elbow – known as Basal Cell Carcinoma – Manley was thrilled to be battling for another Challenge Tour title once again.
“It was pretty good out there – you just had to stay patient,” said the 39-year-old, whose sole Challenge Tour title came in 2013 in Finland when he finished two shots clear of second-placed Lima.
“I got off to a poor start, which was very unfortunate as I hit a great drive on the first but it went a bit too far and I got stuck in a downhill slope in a bunker right by the green so I ended up making bogey, but after that I was pretty much faultless all the way round.
“I was really happy with how I dealt with the wind, I holed a few crucial par putts and took a few chances and was very happy to post four under. I was very solid and was never in trouble.
“It was a lot tougher in the wind today. I am pretty used to the wind from playing at home in Wales so hopefully, it is windy again tomorrow as it suits me.
“It was nice to have a top ten finish in Turkey and to also play very solidly in Kenya after having a few months out injured – I had surgery on my elbow to remove some skin cancer so I was itching to get back after what was a long winter.
“I am sure that Lima will have the home support on his side tomorrow and he’s a great guy – we have played together plenty of times before and hopefully, we can bring the best out of each other tomorrow. It would be great to get another one over him though!”
“On a day like today, it is a big advantage to have a lot of experience and be older,” Lima said. “It is great to play in the wind and in this situation, it is very important to be able to play a punch – my favourite shot.
“My approach play has been excellent and although I am not holing all of my putts my iron play has been fantastic. I avoided making any three putts today and that was the key to my good score.
“Tomorrow is supposed to be very windy so I will need to be steady, my head will need to be cool, and it will be very important to start well and hold my score.
“It is always very difficult to win a tournament, whether it is the Challenge Tour or the Alps Tour, and I can play the best round of my life here but someone else could still beat me.
“My third place here in 2005 is a national record and I hope the Portuguese can break this record this year – hopefully that will be me.”
Also in contention from the home nation is Pedro Figueiredo, who is one of a group of seven players – including last week’s Challenge de España champion Oscar Lengden – who are one shot back with 18 holes to play.
Lorenzo Vera leads in Sicily after 63
Mike Lorenzo-Vera fired a stunning 63 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open.
The Frenchman produced a brilliant 64 in high winds on Friday at Verdura Golf Club and he went one better on a calm moving day to get to 15 under and lead the way from countryman Julien Guerrier and Swede Joakim Lagergren.
Lorenzo-Vera won the Challenge Tour in 2007 but last season was his best campaign on the European Tour as he finished 35th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
He finished in the top ten at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters earlier this season and after playing some sparkling golf at last week's GolfSixes alongside Romain Wattel, he is in now in pole position to challenge for a first European Tour title.
Lagergren is also looking for win number one after matching Lorenzo-Vera's 63, as is Guerrier who signed for a 67 to finish at 13 under.
Dane Lucas Bjerregaard was then at 12 under, three shots clear of local favourite Andrea Pavan and England's Andy Sullivan. Pavan signed for a 66 with Sullivan going one better to sit a shot ahead of Englishman Ryan Evans and Italian Francesco Laporta.
Australian Lucas Herbert was seven under, a shot clear of England's Steven Brown and Finn Mikko Korhonen.
Meanwhile, Pontus Widegren made the 15th hole-in-one of the season as the Swede holed a six iron from 167 yards on the 15th.
56º Open de Portugal @ Morgado Golf Resort (Par 72)
211 S Manley (Wal) 73 70 68, J Lima (Por) 74 68 69,
212 J Davidson (Wal) 70 70 72, A Arnaus (Esp) 67 71 74, P Figueiredo (Por) 71 71 70, A Meronk (Pol) 72 71 69, D Papadatos (Aus) 73 66 73, O Lengden (Swe) 74 68 70, J Singh Brar (Eng) 76 65 71,
213 A Rozner (Fra) 72 71 70, L Nemecz (Aut) 69 71 73, Gary Hurley (Irl) 70 69 74,
214 A Karlsson (Swe) 71 69 74, E Ferguson (Sco) 73 69 72, M Carlsson (Swe) 75 70 69, R Davies (Wal) 70 75 69, V Lopes (am) (Por) 69 74 71, J Freiburghaus (am) (Sui) 73 71 70,
215 J Carlota (Por) 73 69 73, M Cort (Eng) 73 69 73, F Mruzek (Cze) 74 69 72, J Pastor (Esp) 72 71 72, T Cruz (Por) 70 73 72, K Koivu (Fin) 73 69 73, M Fenasse (Fra) 75 71 69,
216 I Cantero Gutierrez (Esp) 70 75 71, J Girrbach (Sui) 71 68 77, U Coussaud (Fra) 73 71 72, M Kim (Kor) 72 71 73, S Forsström (Swe) 70 72 74, J Abbott (Eng) 74 71 71, V Riu (Fra) 73 72 71, R De Sousa (Sui) 72 74 70,
217 J Brun (Fra) 74 72 71, O Edwards (Wal) 69 76 72, B Virto (Esp) 73 70 74, G Porteous (Eng) 72 73 72, D Huizing (Ned) 72 74 71, R Roussel (Fra) 73 73 71, A Ahokas (Fin) 73 71 73, J Allan (Eng) 70 76 71, S Soderberg (Swe) 73 71 73,
218 D Berna Manzanares (Esp) 70 73 75, J Cafourek (Cze) 73 71 74, R Sciot-Siegrist (Fra) 73 71 74, M Salminen (Fin) 72 74 72, S Henry (Sco) 71 71 76, G King (Eng) 75 69 74, D Dixon (Eng) 71 72 75,
219 B Moore (Eng) 72 71 76, H Casey (Eng) 74 71 74, P Tarver-Jones (Eng) 75 70 74, B Parker (Eng) 74 71 74, Dermot McElroy (Nir) 70 75 74, J Senior (Eng) 71 75 73,
220 M Lampert (Ger) 73 73 74, R Enoch (Wal) 71 73 76, A Chapman (Eng) 71 73 76, T Tree (Eng) 72 70 78,
221 W Besseling (Ned) 72 72 77, S Robertshawe (Eng) 73 73 75, L Van Meijel (Ned) 71 74 76, Chris Selfridge (Nir) 73 73 75,
222 T Santos Silva (Por) 74 72 76, R Kakko (Fin) 70 72 80, Stuart Grehan (Irl) 75 71 76, L Cohen-Boyer (Fra) 73 70 79,
223 R Santos (Por) 74 72 77,
225 M Haastrup (Den) 73 70 82.