Pádraig Harrington produced flashes of his trademark short game brilliance to keep their leader in his sights in the KLM Open at The Dutch.
The Dubliner (47) made five birdies in 68 to share 27th on three-under par, four shots behind two-time European Tour winner Ashun Wu from China, who compiled an immaculate, seven-under 64 to head England's Chris Wood by a stroke.
Harrington birdied the 13th, 17th and 18th on his opening nine before rebounding from bogeys at the first and fifth with a tidy finish. Scores
After narrowly missing for eagle from around ten feet after a massive drive at the sixth, he was pleased his short game helped him keep his round going as he holed a seven-footer for par at the eighth before making a similar putt for a closing birdie.
"Made a few up and downs, kept my round going, hit some decent shots and made some birdies," said Harrington, who was second in his last start.
"I could have made a few more birdies but I also I made a few nice up and downs, so 68 is probably a deserved return."
Paul Dunne birdied three of his last seven holes for a 70 that leaves him just inside the cut mark on one-under as he bids to avoid missing his third cut on the spin.
In the Kazakhstan Open, Michael Hoey (39) defied freezing morning temperatures to open with an immaculate, five-under 67 and lie just two strokes behind Germany's Moritz Lampert at Zhailjau Golf Resort.
Despite playing 3,000 metres above sea level in the foothills of the Tian Shan mountain range, it was a good day for the Irish in the €450,000 event as players jostle to make the top 15 in the money list who will win European Tour cards. Scores
Hoey, who is 27th in the standings, was tied for seventh after his 67 with Cormac Sharvin (61st) and Gavin Moynihan (78th) tied 14th after 68s.
Jonny Caldwell's 70 left him just inside the cut mark, but Ruaidhri McGee was tied 76th after a 72 with Gary Hurley 108th after a 74.
Rory McIlroy will make his debut in the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in Hawaii from January 3-6 while new world number one Justin Rose has confirmed he will join the Holywood star, Tiger Woods, Harrington, Shane Lowry and Paul McGinley for the 2020 JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire will continue their quest for LPGA Tour cards in the Symetra Tour's Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout in Arkansas today.
Meadow is third in the money list, but Maguire is 33rd, $22,798 outside the top 10 who will be awarded LPGA Tour cards at the end of the season.
Maguire's initial goal with just four events of the season remaining is to make the top 30 money winners who will be exempt for the new, two-week LPGA Q-Series at Pinehurst, which replaces the final stage of Q-School.
Darren Clarke makes his third PGA Tour Champions start in The Ally Challenge in Michigan while Ronan Rafferty, Brendan McGovern, Des Smyth, Eamonn Darcy and Philip Walton play in the Scottish Senior Open at Craigielaw.