Padraig Harrington fired five birdies at Kingsbarns to record a four-under par 68 on day two of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The three-time Major winner was three-under through seven holes but could only manage one more birdie from there as he moved to seven-under par ahead of round three on the Old Course at St. Andrews on Saturday.
With Rory McIlroy leading the Irish charge a shot ahead of Harrington at eight-under par, Shane Lowry is another not without hope after a much-improved six-under par 66 at Kingsbarns on Friday.
The Clara golfer moved to five-under par but given conditions and course set-ups this week, that’s only good enough for a tie for 79th, with more needed on moving day as Lowry joins Harrington and McIlroy at the Home of Golf.
Graeme McDowell has work to do if he’s to feature in Sunday’s final round after posting a two-under par 70 at Kingsbarns to move to minus-two, while Paul Dunne’s struggles continued after the Greystones man unravelled his earlier good work with a quadruple bogey at the 13th at St. Andrews – Dunne playing his last six-holes in six-over to slip to one-over par for the tournament.
At the top, Matthew Jordan carded a stunning 64, which included a hole-out eagle two followed by five successive birdies, at St Andrews Old Course to take the halfway lead in Scotland.
The promising Englishman has been plying his trade primarily on the European Challenge Tour this year, where he has already claimed a maiden professional victory and currently sits second in the Road to Mallorca Rankings, but he continues to impress in his dalliances with the European Tour.
The 23-year-old led the opening round of the Betfred British Masters in May, eventually finishing in a share of 15th place at Hillside Golf Club, and he is out in front once again on British soil after a round which caught fire when he holed out with his approach at the par four third hole.
Five birdies in a row from the fourth led to a front nine 29 and stirred hope of a potential chase for the magic number of 59. But eight pars and a birdie on the way home were still enough to earn the Liverpudlian a 14-under total and a one-stroke advantage over his friend, Challenge Tour Number One and leading Scot Calum Hill, as well as Jordan’s compatriot Matthew Southgate and Swede Joakim Lagergren.
“After that start, I wanted to keep momentum, because I knew I would have chances,” said Jordan. “Just try and go as low as possible because the scoring is so good. You can’t make a few birdies and think, oh, I’ve done my job.
“I was just free-wheeling it really. I wasn’t thinking too much which is probably a good thing. A 59 did cross my mind once. I had my friends here and they were quick to tell me that they wanted the same on the back nine.
“I’ve done quite well recently. I had one more invite so I just asked my managers, and tried to sort it out because I really wanted to play it and I absolutely love this place. Just trying to make the most of it.”
World Number Four Justin Rose was among the six players in a tie for fifth position on 12 under, alongside two home stars in Russell Knox and Richie Ramsey as well as New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, Englishman Jordan Smith and Victor Perez of France.
Full scoring HERE