A MAKE-OR-BREAK 48 hours is in store for the four-strong Irish contingent who remain on course to earn European Tour cards as the final qualifying school at Catalunya heads into its last crucial two rounds.
Simon Thornton, Peter Lawrie and Kevin Phelan are among the 78 players who successfully made the cut on day four yesterday, and so did Gareth Maybin after a five-under par 65 on the Tour course hauled him right back into contention.
Maybin appeared to be out of the reckoning after struggling over the first three days but the Northern Irishman carded 10 birdies in a fine comeback round.
He will be kicking himself however , after a triple bogey and a double bogey on the fourth and 15th holes respectively took the gloss off what could have been a spectacular round.
Nonetheless, his two-under par 72-hole aggregate of 282 means he made it through to this morning’s fifth round - with 78 players now battling it out today and tomorrow - with the top 25 and ties earning their cards.
Leading the Irish charge is 24-year-old former Walker Cup player Phelan, who goes into round five tied for 26th after going round the Stadium Course in a level-par 72 yesterday - for an overall six-under par 278.
The day began well for Phelen, starting on the 10th, as he birdied three of the first six holes, only to then drop four shots over the next five, before securing level par with a birdie on the penultimate hole on his back nine.
Phelan is one shot ahead of Dublin-born Lawrie, who has work to do after his two-over par 74 on the Stadium Course meaning he is currently tied for 37th.
Northern Irishman Thornton slipped down the field after his four-over par 76 yesterday, meaning he also needs to rediscover his touch as he is currently tied for 43rd on four-under par.
It’s the end of the road though for Michael McGeady who, after a four-over par 72-hole aggregate of 288, missed the cut and is out of contention.
Englishman Matt Ford currently leads the field by one shot on 13-under par after carding 271 for his first four rounds.