The 50 year old carded his second consecutive round of 67 for a four under par total and a one stroke lead over compatriot Paul Streeter after three rounds
He started with a birdie on the first hole and then made two further gains before the turn. He then birdied the tenth and the 13th holes, before a double bogey on the par three 15th hole. He recovered with a birdie on the 16th hole and parred the last two holes for a four under par finish.
“I’m really pleased with how well I played today, apart from the double bogey that I had,” said Kemp. “We’re all experienced enough not to let those moments get you down.
“I might be ahead, but there isn’t really a cushion there. I’m going to go out there and win it. I’ll be pleased when this week is over, to be honest. I’ve never played this much golf in such a short period of time.”
If Kemp were to emerge victorious in the Algarve, he would become the first amateur golfer to win Qualifying School since it was first held at Pestana Golf Resort in 2001.
Streeter, making his second Qualifying School appearance, missed out on the play-off at last year’s Qualifying School by just one stroke and is determined to go one better and secure his card for the forthcoming season.
“The course was the easiest we played it all week with the conditions, but I didn’t really give myself a lot of chances out there,” said Streeter. “I took a few wrong clubs which left me with long putts.
“I want to shoot under par and win the tournament tomorrow, rather than go out and just make the top five. Last year was a good experience, so hopefully I learn from that going into the final round.”
Argentina’s Rafael Gomez, a two-time winner on the European Challenge Tour, and England’s David Shacklady, who missed out on a card at last year’s Qualifying School after losing in the three-man play-off, share fourth place. Gomez has recovered from an opening round of 80, nine over par, carding rounds of 66 and 65 to move into the top five.
American Sonny Skinner is fifth on one under par, one stroke ahead of Italy’s Mauro Bianco in sixth place. Four golfers share seventh place on two over par including England’s Peter Wilson, who earned his card at Qualifying School last year.
32 golfers made the cut after finishing their third rounds within eight strokes of fifth place.