New Zealand's Bob Charles carded a two under par 67 to move into a share of the lead after the second round of the £500,000 Wales Seniors Open at Royal St David's in Harlech
The 1963 Open champion played near flawless golf in blustery conditions to record a one under par two round aggregate of 137. He goes into the final 18 holes tied alongside Japan's Seiji Ebihara and England’s Nick Job, who both added 69s to their opening 68s
The best round of the tournament to date came from Northern Ireland's Eddie Polland who fired a three under par 66 to move into a share of fourth place alongside defending champion Denis Durnian, John Morgan and Ian Stanley on level par 138.
Lawrence Farmer is the leading Welsh competitor heading into the final round. He recorded a fine 67 to claim eighth place on his own.
Overnight leader, Christy O'Connor Jnr, and former Open champion, Tony Jacklin, both lost ground after handing in a 73 and a 72, respectively. However, both go into the final round in a share of ninth place with England's Ian Richardson and Australia's Noel Ratcliffe on 140.
The left-hander, Charles, who is now nearer 70 than 60, went out in two under par 34 and then came home in 33 as the wing freshened and temperature dropped by about ten degrees.
"That was true links golf out there and I loved it," he said. "Parkland golf is all very well but this is the real thing and I just wish I could play more of it.
"I hit the ball well today,” he added. “I also putted almost as well as I did in the past. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Charles is now favourite to lift both the £75,000 first place prize and the £1,500 Hardys Wines Super Seniors prize, awarded to the leading competitor aged 60 or over, but he will face a stern challenge from the chasing pack.
A total of 12 golfers go into the final round within three shots of the lead and almost all of them are season Seniors Tour winners.
Job and Ebihara both pronounced themselves pleased with their day’s work but arguably the happiest man in Harlech was Northern Ireland’s Eddie Polland.
“At last thing seem to be getting better,” he said after posting his 66.
“I’ve been struggling all season long. I’ve been working hard on getting my back into some short of shape and it seems to be working because I haven’t felt any pain foe the last two days.
“The end result is that I’m swing more freely and that’s reflected in my scores. It’s nice to be feeling good again.”
Farmer, making only his second Seniors Tour start of the season was also delighted with his form, albeit somewhat surprised to be claiming a place within the top ten.
“I played great today,” he said. “I’m excited and also a little bit nervous. I’m not used to playing with so much prize money up for grabs.”
Farmer was not the only Welsh competitor to improve during the second round. It was also a much better day for veteran Ryder Cup star, Brian Huggett, who carded a one over par 70 that would have been one shot better but for a three putt on the 202 yard par three closing hole. He goes into final round on five over par 143.
Further down the leaderboard Vale of Llangolan's David Vaughan improved six shots on his opening 77 to go into the final round of 148. Craig Defoy shaved eight shots off his opening 82 but is still languishing near the back of the pack on 156.
Royal St David's club professional John Barnett added a 75 to his opening 77 for a two round aggregate of 152.
The Wales Seniors Open is one of a series of tournaments funded as part of the successful Wales 2010 Ryder Cup bid. The event is supported by the Welsh Assembly Government through the Welsh Tourist Board and the Welsh Development Agency.