Robert Rock completed in the front nine holes at County Louth in one under par to establish a one stroke lead with nine holes to play at The 3 Irish Open.
The Englishman was on course for his maiden win on The European Tour, but amateur Shane Lowry and Swede Johan Edfors were hot on his heels.
Rock had a single birdie on the front nine but some imaginative chipping from around the greens saw him avoid dropping a shot as he reached 17 under for the week.
Irish 22 year old Lowry, in his first event on The European Tour, was not in the scintillating form that saw him record a second round 62.
But he kept his hopes of a dream debut alive with some good up and down saves, until finally dropping a shot at the ninth.
Former Scottish Open champion Edfors was still in the mix at 16 under, as he also reached the turn two under for the day courtesy of a ten foot birdie putt at the ninth.
England’s Nick Dougherty and Scottish pair Marc Warren and Alastair Forsyth were still harbouring hopes of preventing a three horse race but from 13 under with only eight holes left it was going to take something special for them to catch Rock.