Despite suffering with a migraine, Rob Harris managed to retain a slender 54-hole lead in the First Qualifying Stage Section B at Wychwood Park, in England.
The Englishman, whose five under par round of 67 on Wednesday had put him in a dominant position at the Cheshire course, carded a 73 to slip back to five under par.
With 18 holes left to play, Harris still leads by two strokes from his compatriots Ryan O’Neill and Jamie Howarth, who signed for a topsy-turvy round of 69.
Howarth made seven birdies in his three under par round, a haul that would’ve seen the Cheshire man storm into the lead in his home county were it not for two bogeys and a double at the par four 13th.
Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen, meanwhile, belied his amateur status to surge into a 54 hole lead in Germany, where the other First Qualifying Stage is being held this week.
After trailing overnight leader, Sweden’s Marcus Larsson, by six shots heading into the third round at Golf & Country Club Fleesensee, Pulkkanen took advantage of his Scandinavian counterpart’s struggles in round three to sign for a seven under par 65 that featured seven birdies, an eagle and just the two dropped shots.
Despite completing his round on Thursday in 12 more shots than he had done a day previously, Larsson still retained a share of second place with 18 holes to play in Göhren-Lebbin after his three over par 75 left him four shots shy of Pulkkanen.
Alongside Larsson at 12 under par was another amateur in Germany’s Sebastian Schwind, who carded a second consecutive 69 to stay on course for a place in the next Qualifying Stage along with 54 other players who progressed through to round four on 220 (+4).
A total of 184 players are competing in the second week of the European Tour Qualifying School at Golf and Country Club Fleesensee – a European Tour Course – and Wychwood Park, with the leading 24 players and ties from the German venue near Berlin progressing through to the Second Stage, while the top 23 and ties will make it through from the Cheshire course.
Somewhere in the region of 28% of the field will make it through to the Second Qualifying Stage which will take place across four venues in Spain – Campo de Golf El Saler, Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, El Valle Golf Resort and Lumine Golf & Beach Club – from November 7-10. Approximately 310 players will line up at those four venues, with about 80 progressing through to the Final Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort – also a European Tour Course - from November 24-29.