David Higgins looks likely to be the Irish standard-bearer as the final European Tour Qualifying school reaches its climax in Spain this week.
The highly experienced Irish PGA Champion and Order of Merit winner continued to impress yesterday at Catalunya and is now ready for the final push over the next three days to land a precious Tour card.
Higgins, whose short game has been superb in Spain, fired a 68 in his third round over the Tour course yesterday for a seven-under-par 54-hole aggregate of 205 to put him in joint 11th position, six strokes behind leader Estanislao Goya of Argentina.
The highlight of the Waterville man's round was a brilliant eagle three on the long 10th.
He had gone out in 35 with a birdie two on the second and a bogey six on the seventh and for the second consecutive day he recorded a birdie three on the 13th but then dropped a stroke on the 16th.
Higgins could be the only Irishman who makes the four-round cut tonight as the others in the 156-strong field are well back.
Chris Devlin is on 215 (three-over), Simon Thornton is in joint 84th place on 218, one stroke ahead of Royal Dublin's Niall Kearney, while Peter O'Keefe – who recovered from a disastrous opening round to put himself in the picture – has flopped again, taking 77 for a 223 total.
Lurgan's Gareth Shaw has been in trouble throughout and will definitely be returning home empty-handed as he is among the tail-enders on 228 – 14-over-par.
Several of the top guns will also be returning home early, with former K Club winner Stephen Dodd, a past amateur champion, among the also-rans.