Gary Hurley is four shots off the pace heading into the final round of the Castelconturbia Alps Open.
The West Waterford man carded a two-under-par 70 to move onto seven-under and into the top-15 but it could have been so much better.
Hurley needs a good week to secure his top-5 finish on the season-long Order of Merit as he hunts Challenge Tour promotion.
The Irishman is currently fifth on the season standings, with only the top-five earning their Challenge Tour cards for next season, with this the last regular season event.
Hurley started brilliantly with an opening eagle on the par-5 10th and he followed up a bogey on 13 and then three birdies in four holes before the turn to close to within one of the lead.
However, a disappointing back nine of 38 which saw seven pars and dropped shots on 2 and 7 left him back amongst the chasing pack and with work to do.
Naas man Jonathan Yates fired his second successive round of 70 to move to four-under and he was the only other Irishman to make the cut with James Sugrue and Paul McBride bowing out with a round to spare.
Yates hung in well after two bogeys in his opening five holes while three birdies in four holes from the sixth saw him turn under-par for the day.
He endured a strange back nine that eventually saw him home in 35 with bogeys on the par-5 12th and the 18th coming either side of another run of three birdies in four holes.
The lead is held by Italian Andrea Saracino and Mario Galiano Aguilar of Spain on eleven-under-par after rounds of 67 and 66 respectively while Ben Schmidt of England and Austrian Alexander Kopp are a shot further back.