England’s Toby Tree and Benjamin Poke of Denmark head the list of hopefuls after 36 holes of the European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage.
Overnight leader John Catlin slipped down the leaderboard, but the former New Mexico player is still well placed to earn a European Tour card.
Tree and Poke returned matching 4-under 67s over the Lakes Course at Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona, Spain. They moved to 9 under, one shot better than four-time European Tour winner S.S.P Chawrasia of India and Finland’s Sami Valimaki with four rounds still remaining at Lumine.
Former England amateur Tree is hoping to end a testing year by taking one of the 25 cards on offer for next year’s European Tour. The 25 year old got off to a good start this year after recovering from a broken bone in his leg.
However, he missed six months of the summer with another injury, and could only finish 79th on the Challenge Tour money list.
Tree has made four previous unsuccessful trips to the Qualifying School. Two bogeys in two rounds points to this visit being perhaps more fruitful.

Leaderboard: European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage

“I’m really pleased,” Tree said. “I played solidly on both days and gave myself plenty of chances. I made a couple of bogeys today but bounced right back, so that’s good for me, bouncing back.
“I thought the pins were a bit tricky, especially today. The breeze was up, it was cold and I thought it was playing quite long.
“I’m not really thinking about how long is left. I’m going through the process. There are four rounds to go and I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.”
Poke finished 29th on this year’s Challenge Tour order of merit in his first season on Europe’s junior circuit.
“I struggled a bit more today, especially off the tee,” the 27-year- old said. “I got off to a good start and hit some great iron shots and also managed to hole a few putts as well. I had bit of a bump in the middle of the back nine.
"I broke my eight iron on 13 – I came up against a tree and had to give it a bit of a hack but I made par there, so it was worth it.”
Catlin returned a 1-over 73 over the Hills Course to go with his opening 65. He is on 5 under par in joint 13th place.
Arizona State graduates Niklas Lemke and Alejandro Canizares share eighth place on 6 under. Lemke is making his 11th trip to the European Tour Qualifying School. The Swede is hoping to emulate last year’s performance when he successfully qualified for the main tour for the first time. Canizares, the 2003 NCAA individual champion, is a two-time European Tour winner who finds himself at the Q School after finishing 138th on this year’s Race to Dubai.
The field will be cut to the top 70 and ties after four rounds, with the top 25 and ties after six rounds earnings places on the 2020 European Tour.