Seamus Power will play in the third last group on Sunday after carding a scintillating round 67 at the US PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
In only his second major appearance after his bow at Augusta, the Waterford golfer showed superb composure, particularly on his back nine to card a three-under-par round on a challenging penultimate day in Tulsa.
It was enough to assume the clubhouse lead for almost an hour and he finished the day six shots back on leader Mito Pereira, who shot a one-under 69 to sit on nine under for the tournament.
Rory McIlroy had an erratic, eventful round of 74, which featured a triple bogey, a double bogey, three bogeys and four birdies.
Power carded six birdies and three bogeys – but four of those birdies came in the final seven holes as he finished with a flourish.
It was not such a happy round for Shane Lowry, who couldn't catch fire to recover ground on the leaders. He opened with seven pars before a bogey at eight, he got a shot back at 12 but back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16 took the wind out of his sails, despite a final birdie at 17.
The 2019 Open champion is three over for the tournament after a 71.
Power was happy with his performance in difficult conditions as the wind was blowing from the opposite direction to Friday, and he had to lean on caddie Simon Keelan.
"You are basically learning a new course, so I needed Simon's help a lot out there. We did our best with it. Those birdies on the way in made all the difference," he told Sky Sports.
"You're still hoping no one gets too far ahead on the back nine. My game feels good and today seeing a few putts going in towards the end feels nice and gives you confidence and hopefully that continues into tomorrow."
Power, who was ranked outside the world's top 400 just a year ago but is currently ranked 42nd, added: "I feel good, my game is in a good spot.
"Obviously I’ll go out a little before any of the leaders. If I can get a couple birdies on the card, it can make the world of difference and then you need a couple breaks to go your way."
Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick will join Pereira – like Power playing in only his second major – in the final group after a 67 that left him three back on the Chilean, who could complete the majors grand slam for South American golfers.
Pereira showed amazing strength of will to bounce back from four bogeys around the turn, to sink three birdies in the final six holes, to go with two in the first five.
His playing partner Will Zalatoris had a difficult day with the putter, carding four bogeys on the front nine before recovering somewhat on the back nine. He still returned with a 73 and lost the lead – he will play alongside Cameron Young, whose 67 brought him just a shot behind Zalatoris on five under.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods withdrew from the tournament on Saturday evening, hours after recording his worst score in the event.
Woods only made the weekend with a shot to spare, courtesy of playing the final seven holes of his second round in two under, a brilliant effort which still left the 15-time major winner 12 shots off the lead.
The 46-year-old had nevertheless talked up his chances of making a surge through the field, citing the 63 shot by Bubba Watson on Friday as the kind of score which was possible.
However, while Webb Simpson showed that might be true with a 65, Woods had to play his last four holes in one under par simply to break 80 after making five bogeys in succession in a major for the first time in his professional career.
"I just didn't play well," Woods said. "I didn't hit the ball very well and got off to not the start I needed to get off to.
"I thought I hit a good tee shot down two and ended up in the water, and just never really got any kind of momentum on my side."
Woods had clearly been in pain from the right leg which was injured so severely in a car accident in February last year that he feared it might have to be amputated.
Asked if he would play Sunday’s final round, he added: "Well, I’m sore. I know that is for a fact. We’ll do some work and see how it goes."
After holing from 13 feet to save par on the first, Woods (above) drove into the creek which bisects the second hole and made a bogey five following a penalty drop, before finding more water on the par-three sixth.
Woods then missed the green with his third shot from the drop zone on his way to a triple-bogey six and dropped another shot on the next to slide further down the leaderboard.
The chilly weather was doing Woods no favours due to his extensive history of injuries and bogeys at the seventh and ninth – where he thinned his second shot into the face of a bunker – completed a miserable front nine of 41.
Four more bogeys to start the back nine left Woods in danger of recording his worst score in any major, his unwanted mark of 81 set in terrible weather in the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield.
Yet in typical fashion he refused to throw in the towel, holing from 35 feet for his first birdie of the day on the 15th and celebrating by sardonically holding one finger in the chilly air.
Three closing pars gave Woods a 79, his previous worst score in the US PGA being a 77 in the first round in 2011.