Raymond Russell moved closer to his maiden Challenge Tour title after reaching the halfway point of the final round of the Challenge Provincia di Varese in two under par.
That took the Scotsman to 16 under par overall, three shots clear of Argentine Daniel Vancsik and six ahead of compatriot Andrew McArthur and Italian Marco Crespi who were level par and one over respectively after nine holes.
A birdie at the first for Russell will have helped settle the nerves, and he added another at the par three fourth before parring his way to the turn.
Vancsik was three under for the day thanks to birdies at the first, second and ninth.
Russell, who won the 1996 Air France Cannes Open on The European Tour, returned to golf’s top tier via the 2010 Challenge Tour Rankings, but was sidelined for almost the entire 2011 season with a debilitating virus.