Michael Hoey keeps hopes alive at European Tour School as he moves into top 40
Michael Hoey stayed in contention for a European Tour card at the qualifying school after a fifth-round 69 moved him into a share of 39th spot in Spain.
Heading into the final round at the PGA Catalunya Resort, Hoey is two shots outside the 25th and ties spot which will earn a tour card.
Five-time tour winner Hoey, 37, has missed 21 cuts in 28 events in 2016.
But after squeezing into the final two rounds on Tuesday, Hoey moved up 23 places with his six-birdie card.
Hoey's three-under-par round at the Stadium Course moved him to three under overall.
There are currently nine players sharing 22nd place on five under including another former European Tour winner Ross McGowan.
Hoey carded opening rounds of 70, 67 and 76, before his fourth-round 71 saw him move up the leaderboard of 156 competitors in Spain.
2010 European Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari moved into the lead into the six-round marathon after a 67 on Wednesday moved him to 14 under.
Overnight leader England's Nathan Kimsey dropped back to second spot on 11 under after a 73 while his compatriots Matthew Nixon, Eddie Pepperell, Tom Lewis and Richard McEvoy are sharing third place two further back.
The only other Irish qualifier for the final two days in Girona, Gary Hurley remained on level par after a 72 on Wednesday.
West Waterford man Hurley bravely battled into the final two days of action in Spain after carding a brilliant 65 on Tuesday but he is now sharing 59th place heading into the high-pressure final round.
The players will be back in action at the venue's Tour Course on Thursday.