MICHAEL WELCH holds a one-shot lead going into the final round of The Sky Sports International at Heydon Grange.
The Hawkstone Park golfer began the second day a shot behind overnight leaders Ben Welch and Barry Hume, but shot a four-under-par 68 to move into pole position at -11.
For the second successive day he hit an eagle at the first and then added a birdie at the seventh, although a double-bogey at the par three eighth dented his challenge.
He regained his lead with birdies at the 13th, 14th and 16th holes, giving him enough of a cushion to bogey the 17th before ending on -4 for the day.
He sits a shot ahead of namesake Ben Welch, who followed up his opening rounds 64 with a 70 to leave himself at -10 alongside Phil Worthington.
Worthington, from Donnington Grove, has carded two successive rounds of 67 to put himself in a good position.
“I’m very happy with how I played,” said Worthington. “It’s been a while since I’ve played to my potential on the tour, so I’m looking forward to the final day.
“I’ve been pretty consistent and only had two holes over par this week. The key is to hit as many greens in regulation as you can to give yourself the opporunity to score well.”
Mark Smith shot a 67 on Friday to move out to -9 for the tournament, and Damian Mooney followed up his opening round 66 with a 69 to join him on 135.
Robert McGuirk, the winner of The PokerMillion.Com Championship a fortnight ago at Collingtree Park, followed up an opening round 70 with a 66 on Friday to move out to -8.
He joined Barry Hume on that score, after the overnight joint leader produced a par round of 72 on Friday.
A total of 57 players made the cut ahead of Saturday’s final round.