FIVE successive birdies helped Phillip Archer to a share of the lead at the end of the second day of the Formby Hall Classic.
The event, which is the ninth of the PGA EuroPro Tour season, comes from Merseyside and features more than 160 players aiming for the Â£10,000 top prize.
Archer has a chance of claiming that as a round of 66 (-6) on Thursday left him on -9 for the tournament and in joint first position.
He is joined by local golfer Tommy Fleetwood, a player who has finished second on the Challenge Tour and who started the event as betting favourite with bookmakers SkyBet.
Archerâ€™s round included birdies at every hole from the third to the seventh, while Fleetwood claimed an eagle three at the 492-yard par-five third.
Order of Merit leader Chris Hanson (Woodsome Hall, Huddersfield) is one of four players in tied third a shot behind Archer and Fleetwood.
Hanson, who began his round from the tenth hole due to the two-tee start, would have gone into the final day in tied first if he had not bogeyed the seventh.
Warren Bennett (Sudbury) shot the round of the day with a score of 65 (-7) to force himself into contention after looking like he might struggle to make the cut after Wednesdayâ€™s play.
George Cowan (Westerhope) and Paul Grannell (Vale Royal Abbey) are also on -8 for the tournament with four players â€“ Tim Dykes (Penrith), Billy Fowles (Wentworth), Justin Evans (Wentworth) and day one leader Luke Goddard (Hendon) – on seven-under.
Last yearâ€™s winner Nick McCarthy went round in 67 (-5) on Thursday but his hopes of a successful tournament had been dashed on Wednesday with a disappointing effort of 77 (+5).
The top 50 players plus ties have advanced to the last round and Graeme Clark, second in the Order of Merit, was safely among them following a score of 68 (-4) on Thursday.
However, Jamie Abbott and James Busby, third and fourth respectively in the money list, both failed to qualify for the final day.
It promises to be a thrilling final day as 11 players are within two shots and all the action will be filmed with a two-hour highlights package being shown on Sky Sports on Wednesday, August 17.