Jamaica's Delroy Cambridge homed in on his first European Seniors Tour title when he closed with three birdies over the last three holes to record a 72 and open a one shot lead heading into the final round of the STC Bovis Lend Lease European Invitational over the Duke's course at Woburn G & CC.
Cambridge, 51, posted a five under par two round aggregate of 139 to go into the closing 18 holes one shot ahead of Australia's David Good, Brazil's Priscillo Diniz and Japan's Seiji Ebihara with England's David Creamer, New Zealand's Bob Charles, Sweden's Jan Bjornsson and Australians Bob Shearer and Noel Ratcliffe one shot further behind on three under par 141.
Cambridge, who has notched eight top-10 finishes so far this season, started the second round slowly. He bogeyed both the 170-yard fifth and the 177-yard eighth to go out in two over par 36 but then made amends with birdies on the 10th, 16th, 17th and 18th.
"I didn't sleep very well last night and it showed at the start of the round," said the big-hitting Cambridge. "I felt a bit sluggish to start with and I didn't putt all that well either but at least I got it together at the end.
"It was a tough day," he added. "The wind was swirling around in the trees. You had to be patient and then take the chances when they came along."
Good won the Legends in Golf tournament in Holland a fortnight ago and could well have been in the lead here but for a disastrous seven on the 510-yard par-5 4th hole where he three putted from inside four feet of the hole.
"When I was walking up to my ball I heard something drop behind me and when I looked round to see what it was I think I might have trod on Glenn MacDonald's line," he said.
"It was still bothering me when I was putting so I made a complete hash of things but at least I'm still in there with a shout tomorrow."
Bob Charles, 64, the winner of the 1963 Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes, goes into the final round tied for fifth place after rounds of 71 and 70 and with a single shot lead over England's Tommy Horton in the race for the £500 Hardys Wines Super Seniors prize awarded to the leading competitor over the age of 60.
Horton, 60, who won five European Seniors Tour Order of Merits between 1993 and 1999 added a 73 to his opening 69 and is in a share of tenth place alongside Italy's Renato Campagnoli, Spain's Antonio Garrido and America's Tommy Price.
After his round Charles headed straight to the practice putting green to work on his errant putting.
“It just wasn’t good enough,” said the man who was once renowned as being one of the finest putters in the world. “I hit a lot of good shots out there but I just couldn’t convert them into birdies.
“I can’t seem to aim my putter at the moment,” he added. “If I can only hole a few putts tomorrow I could still be a contender but I am going to have to do a lot of work before then.”
The round of the day was posted by New Zealand’s Simon Owen who raced round the Duke’s course in a fine 67 that included birdies at the fourth, the fifth, the eighth, the 10th and the 15th and an eagle three on the 514-yard 18th hole where he hit a drive and a 7-iron to within 14 inches of the hole.
The man who finished second behind Jack Nicklaus at the 1978 Open at St Andrews moved up from 64th to a share of 23rd place on one over par 145.
At the other end of the leaderboard the cut fell at five over par 149 and one of those who missed out was Ireland’s Denis O’Sullivan who has won two European Seniors Tour titles so far this season at the Palmerston Trophy in Berlin and the STC Scandinavian International at Kungsagen in Sweden.