American Charlie Bolling hit back after the disappointment of his second round 74 to close the gap on halfway leader Dick Mast in the European Senior Tour Qualifying School Final Stage.
Bolling, who led after the opening round following a course record 64, birdied the first two holes of his third round and picked up another shot on the eighth hole to move to seven under par at the turn.
Compatriot Mast, who held a four shot lead at the start of the day, also birdied the second hole to move to nine under par at Pestana Golf Resort’s Vale da Pinta.
He remains on course to earn one of the six full cards for the 2012 Senior Tour season but behind him the competition is intensifying with English trio Steve Cipa, Glenn Ralph and Paul Wesselingh all making their move, along with Canadian Rick Gibson.
The field will be cut at the conclusion of the third round to those players within eight shots of 14th position - the last place that would seal a conditional card.