A second back-nine birdie blitz in as many days has helped Victorian Matias Sanchez move one stroke clear heading into the final round of First Stage of DP World Tour Qualifying School at Rosebud Country Club.
Sanchez (69) is 5-under through 54 holes to be one clear of Andre Lautee (69), Lautee enjoying a four-stroke buffer from New South Welshman Lucas Higgins (71) and Michael Pearce who share third place at even par.
The top four and ties at the end of play on Friday will advance through to Second Stage in Spain in November, just two strokes separating the next seven players vying for the third and fourth ticket to stage two.
Victorian Caleb Bovalina produced the round of the week – a 5-under 66 – to join the group of four who are tied for sixth at 2-over, one back of Queensland’s Cooper Eccleston who is outright fifth at 1-over.
It is Sanchez (pictured) who continues to lead the way, however, and again his best work came on the back nine.
One-over through eight holes of his third round, Sanchez got back to even par with a birdie at the par-5 ninth for the third straight day.
That clicked the former Royal Melbourne Golf Club club champion into gear as he followed it with birdies at 11, 12, 14 and 15 to be 7-under for the tournament.
He dropped shots at both 16 and 17 to drop back to just a one-stroke lead but with a five-shot buffer to the players who share third through three rounds.
While the top four and ties at Rosebud are exempt into Second Stage, the top 19 and ties at The Players Club in England will advance.
Kiwi James Hydes is outright sixth and two strokes off the lead through two rounds while Todd Sinnott – a winner at Rosebud Country Club two years ago – is in a tie for 12th and four strokes off the lead.
Ryan Ruffels is the only other Australian in the field but is currently tied for 49th at 7-over par.