Paul McGinley jumped to joint third at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland today, sitting three behind leader Simon Dyson who was on 10 under.
The 42-year-old, making his first trip to Crans-sur-Sierre for 14 years, was joined on seven under by South African Thomas Aiken
McGinley, captain of the Britain and Ireland team against Continental Europe in the Vivendi Trophy later this month, still has ambitions of regaining a Ryder Cup place even though Colin Montgomerie has him ear-marked as a vice-captain.
The Dubliner birdied the 15th and 18th to turn in 33, while Rory McIlroy, who 12 months ago lost a play-off in the event after missing an 18-inch putt, was close behind in the group on six under.
Victory on Sunday would take the 20-year-old Northern Irishman to the top of the European money list.
Playing partner Lee Westwood, one place behind McIlroy at fourth and keen to repeat his 2000 Order of Merit triumph, stood three under with seven holes to go.
One behind Australian Brett Rumford after an opening 63 at the first counting event for next year’s Ryder Cup, Dyson bogeyed the 11th and 13th.
But then came birdies at the 14th, 15th, 17th and first and, with Rumford encountering early problems of his own, the 31-year-old from York – winner of the KLM Open in Holland two weeks ago – went two shots clear at 10 under par.
His closest challenger at that point was fellow Yorkshireman Danny Willett, the vicar’s son who was a team-mate of McIlroy at the amateur Walker Cup two years ago.
Another player catching the eye was Italian Matteo Manassero, the 16-year-old youngest-ever British amateur champion who finished a sparkling 13th in The Open in July.