Paul Doherty shot a second-round 70 to take a one-stroke advantage into the final round of the Kingspan Concra Wood Open, the latest event on the 888poker.com PGA EuroPro Tour.
The Scotsman moved to five under after 36 holes while Marcus Armitage (Howley Hall GC) is one off the pace after shooting the dayâ€™s best score, a five-under 67. William Harrold is joined by last yearâ€™s Kingspan Concra Wood Open winner Billy Hemstock and Limerickâ€™s Tim Rice on three under in a tie for third.
Doherty (Vale Hotel) had shared the lead with Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel and Golf Club) on three under par following Wednesdayâ€™s first round, but the Irishman shot a four-over 76 on day two and is now tied 19th.
After a one-hour delay due to fog, joint overnight leader Doherty teed off on the tenth tee but bogeyed the 14th to drop to two under. Back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th saw him take his second-round card below par and a four on the par-five first had him at five under, although that was short-lived when his second bogey of the round came on the following hole.
However, Doherty found one more par breaker on the seventh and his clubhouse lead was never taken.
His closest challenger at the start of Fridayâ€™s final round will be Armitage. The Englishman is playing his first 888poker.com PGA EuroPro Tour event of the main season after finishing tied 33rd at Qualifying School.
He went into the second round one over but quickly found form, making five birdies before the turn. A bogey at the second, having started on the tenth, was only a brief setback before a sixth birdie of the round was recorded on the fourth.
Hemstock (Teignmouth Golf Club), carded a one-under 71 on day two and is just two strokes behind Doherty as he looks to defend the title he won by play-off at Concra Wood last year.
Two birdies on his last three holes took Rice to three under, while Harrold (Sheringham Golf Club) fired a second-round 70 to manoeuvre himself into a tie for third.
Ahead of the final round a cut to the leading 50 players plus ties has been made. A total of 53 golfers, whose 36-hole score is five over par or better, will play the final round in a bid to claim the Â£10,000 winnerâ€™s cheque and a brand new Motocaddy trolley.
Spectator entry to the course is free throughout the week and a two-hour highlights package of the event will be broadcast on Sky Sports HD at 7pm on Tuesday, August 6, repeated on Wednesday, August 7.