YOU can’t beat a good dollop of Caledonian confidence. “I’m astounded by my position but it may all come crashing down,” said Chris Kelly with the kind of pessimism that would make Private Frazer of Dad’s Army look like a shimmering beacon of cheery positivity.

We’re doomed? Not quite. A five stroke lead heading into the closing round of the weather-shortened M&H Logistics Scottish PGA Championship certainly provides grounds for optimism but Kelly is clearly not one for counting those metaphorical chickens.

An eventful three-under 67 over the King’s course gave the Glasgow man a 10-under aggregate of 130 and a commanding lead over Paul O’Hara as he bolstered his bid for a third national title.

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Kelly, who could join a decorated list of multiple champions that includes the likes of Sam Torrance, Bernard Gallacher, Eric Brown and John Panton, has one hand on the cherished old trophy but he will approach the final round with caution.

“A five shot cushion can go in the first five holes here and one wrong move could see a 67 turn into a 77,” added Kelly. With the wind switching direction and making the back nine the tougher of the two halves, Kelly made a telling early move on the sixth when he cracked a 6-iron into three feet on the sixth and made an eagle.

The 40-year-old swiftly handed those strokes back on the seventh, though, when he lost a ball and racked up a double-bogey.

The topsy-turvy nature of his round continued on the par-3 eighth as his nicely flighted 7-iron tee-shot dropped to within eight feet and he gobbled up the birdie chance.

“I stood on the ninth tee and said to myself ‘well, I’ve made the cut’; I’m not kidding,” added Kelly of an absurdly downbeat thought. “The reason I’m thinking like this is that I’ve not been playing that much this year. Deep down, it’s still in there somewhere, though.”

O’Hara, the winner of the Northern Open and the British Club Professionals’ Championship this season, faces quite a catch up job if he is to complete a notable triple whammy of successes on the PGA scene.

A fairly neat one-under 69 lifted him up to the five-under mark on a tricky day over James Braid’s old masterpiece.

“It was tough today and the ball wasn’t really travelling,” conceded O’Hara, who countered a dropped shot on the fourth with a brace of birdies at the 14th and 18th. “On the back nine, we were going in to the greens with 4-irons and 5-irons compared to wedges in the first round.”

O’Hara’s game has been tidied up considerably by his coach, David Orr. “I was looking at some of the spots that I used to put myself in here and was thinking ‘I must have been rubbish’,” admitted O’Hara of some previous wayward ventures.

O’Hara has fortified his position at the top of the Tartan Tour’s order of merit and has already secured a place in the end-of-season PGA Play-Offs, where a number of potentially lucrative European Tour invitations will be up for grabs. “There’s no pressure on me now but there’s still plenty to play for,” he added.

Newmachar’s Greg McBain, who boasts a couple of top-three finishes in this event down the seasons, sits in third on three-under after a 69 with former champion, Greig Hutcheon, two shots further back on one-under.