America’s Dan Olsen leads Staysure Tour Qualifying School Final Stage on seven under par after posting a five under par 66 on Day Three as 27 players booked their place in the final round by making the five over par cut.
Only those finishing within eight shots of fifth place at Vale da Pinta made the third round cut and will be given the chance to compete for one of five 2019 Staysure Tour cards in the fourth round.
Olsen leads the way on seven under par, with Spaniard José Manuel Carriles and Canada’s David Morland IV three shots back on four under par, while the trio of Sion E Bebb, Tim Thelen and Peter T Wilson share fourth place on three under par.
Three birdies going out and a further three coming in, with a single bogey, was enough for the American to open a three-shot advantage with 18 holes remaining.
The 52 year old progressed through First Stage at Gramacho Golf Club last week after revealing he was attracted to the Tour following his appearance at The Senior Open Presented by Rolex last year.
“I’ve played a lot on the PGA of America at home and I came over last summer and played in the The Senior Open at St Andrews,” he said.
“I qualified and got in but then missed the cut, but it was a great experience. It made me want to come back and play some more tournaments on the Staysure Tour.
“They’re good guys over here. They’re such professionals who have played a lot of golf. I had good pairings even at Gramacho and it’s been really good,” Olsen said after playing with Wilson and George Ryall on Day Three.
Olsen’s third round 66 added to his second round of 67, and even after a slow start to the week, where he was four over after nine holes, the American is still pleased with his game in Portugal.
“It’s pretty hard to get round here in that score,” he said. “I’ve got plenty of respect for this place, so I’m really happy with today. I controlled my ball nicely and I just need to go and do that tomorrow.
“I played pretty well yesterday and shot four under. I played a bad first nine on the first day and from then on I’ve done a good job of controlling my ball at a difficult place to do that.”
The American is hoping to follow the lead of countryman Clark Dennis by earning his card at Q-School and becoming a man to watch on the over-50s golf scene.
“A lot of these guys play better in their 50s and I’m sure Clark is one of those guys,” Olsen said. “I want to be one of those guys.
“Some guys’ minds get better and their bodies don’t deteriorate for some reason. For example, Bernhard Langer is 61 and he’s great. I think a lot of guys have played better in their 50s than they did in their 30s and 20s.
“I look forward to trying to be one of those guys. It will give me great satisfaction if I get one of those cards tomorrow. I just need to play each shot on every hole and not try and get too smart.”
Overnight leader André Bossert relinquished the lead early on Day Three as he posted a five over par front nine before eventually gaining a shot and signing for a four over par 75. He will head into the final round in tied eighth on one under par alongside Simon P Brown and Michael Long.
The last man to make the cut was Richard Tinworth in tied 27th as he finished on five over par after three rounds. Glenn Joyner will also contest the final round after back-to-back birdies on the final two holes meant he jumped from six over par to four over.
The final round will begin at 9.00am local time on Thursday January 31 as the remaining 27 players compete for one of five cards.