Benjamin Poke extended his lead to two shots on day three of European Tour Qualifying School as the six-round marathon tournament reached the halfway stage.
The Dane, who recently completed a strong rookie season on the European Challenge Tour, carded four birdies and only one bogey to sign for a three under par round of 69 on Lumine Golf Club’s Hills Course.
“It was nice to finish with a flurry of birdies at the end," he said. “I haven’t really looked at the scoreboards this week or checked online after the round to see how I’m doing and I’ve been watching snooker over the last few days in the evening to take my mind off things.
"I’m trying not to think about the top 25 at the moment as I can’t control what other players are doing, I can only try and control how I play and we’ll see where it all ends up at the end of the week.”
The 27-year-old began the day sharing the Final Stage lead, but finished with two late birdies to reach a three-round total of 12 under par— two shots clear of his nearest competitor Lars van Meijel.
The Dutchman, who also narrowly missed out on graduating to the European Tour after a strong campaign on the Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca, converted six birdies and an eagle-two on the Hills Course’s par four 12th hole, to sign for a seven under par 65 and move 39 places up the leaderboard.
Sharing third place on nine under par are India’s S.S.P Chawrasia and overnight joint-leader Toby Tree of England.
The field at Final Stage competes on both the Hills Course and the Lakes Course, and with the leading half all playing the Hills Course on day three, they will now take to the Lakes Course for the all-important fourth round, where the field is reduced to the top 70 and ties.
The low round of the tournament was carded by two players on day three, Will Enefer of England and Australian David Micheluzzi, who were paired together on the Lakes Course and fired eight under par rounds of 63 to both move into a share of 62nd place on two under par, which also stands as the current projected cut line.
Any player surviving the 72-hole cut will be guaranteed a European Challenge Tour card as they battle it out on the Lakes Course over the final two days for a spot in the top 25 and the life-changing European Tour card that comes with it.