Mark Gazi will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Connacht U18 Boys Open Championship at Galway Golf Club on Friday.
The Tralee golfer battled some high winds to card a second round of one-over 71 to leave him on that mark after 36-holes.
It might have been better for the teenager but for a difficult back nine of 38 which included a closing double-bogey that brought him back towards the field.
Gazi’s front nine was superb in comparison, the Kerryman turning in 35 after birdies on the second, seventh and eighth with just one bogey on the 5th.
Despite a disappointing finish he is still in control but he now has a host of big names queuing behind him.
Darcy Hogg shot the round of the day, a two-under 68 and he is just one adrift of Gazi on two-over. The Belvoir Park golfer recovered from a poor start to post four birdies.
Hogg fell to two-over quickly after bogeys on the third and fourth but a birdie on the 5th halved the damage as he turned in 36.
While others struggled on the back nine, Hogg came into his own with birdies on 11, 13 and 17 in a flawless inward nine of 32 to roar into the mix.
Faithlegg’s Alex King is on three-over after rounds of 69 and 74 while beaten French finalist Sean Keeling has kept himself in contention in fourth place after back-to-back rounds of 72 to lie on four-over.
The Roganstown golfer had a rollercoaster round that included three birdies, a bogey and two double-bogeys.
Keeling turned in 33 after birdies on six and eight completed a blemish-free outward journey. Two double-bogeys in three holes either side of a birdie on the 11th put paid to his hard work on the front nine and a bogey on the 17th saw him home in 39 strokes.
First-round leader Gavin Tiernan is alongside Keeling on four-over after following up his opening 68 with a six-over 76.
The Baltray native also found the going tough on the back nine carding three bogeys in his last four holes.