Gavins, 27, from Leeds, fired a six-under-par 66 during the third round of Qualifying School Final Stage to move two ahead of the rest of the field at the halfway point of the competition.
Gavins, who navigated his way through all three stages of Q-School in 2015, carded two eagles and four birdies for his third consecutive round in the 60s and an 18 under par total.
“I’ve played on the EuroPro Tour this year and have been pretty consistent on there but didn’t hole a great deal of putts so it was nice to come and hole a few this week,” said Gavins, as he looks to secure one of 25 cards on the European Tour next season.
“It’s been a tough few years since playing on the European Tour in 2016, so it would mean a lot to get back there.”
On his round, Gavins said: “I’m very pleased. It was a tough day, so it was just a case of staying patient and attack when I need to.
“I’m playing pretty consistently at the minute, have holed some putts and I have just got to keep going and scoring well.
“The two eagles were the highlight from today – especially when I holed a bunker shot on the 11th.”
Huddersfield’s Chris Hanson is well-placed to retain his playing rights after rounds of 65, 68, 70 left him 15th, seven shots adrift of Gavins. Hallamshire’s Joe Dean is 30th on nine under, while Leeds’ Nick McCarthy and Rotherham’s Jonathan Thomson – who nearly capped his first season on Tour with victory at the Dutch Open, have work to do in 60th.
Howley Hall amateur Ben Hutchinson sits 99th.
But ahead of the 156-player field being trimmed to the top 70 and ties on Tuesday, three familiar names are struggling.
Malton’s Simon Dyson, a six-time winner on the European Tour, is six shots adrift of the cut mark with Hull’s Richard Finch – himself a two-time winner – a further shot back and Harrogate’s John Parry five shots back.