Jonathan Yates and Conor O’Rourke raced into the weekend with superb six-under par rounds of 66 as Robin Dawson struggled to replicate his blistering play of the opening day in round two of the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge.
Yates fired five birdies and an eagle to launch himself up the board to a share of 28th at six-under par, one shot clear of former Naas teammate O’Rourke who carded seven birdies and just one dropped shot to move inside the top-40.
Tramore’s Dawson still leads the Irish challenge but could only add a 73 to his opening 64 to move into the weekend in a tie for 17th at minus-seven. It’s still a big stepping stone for Dawson who puts to rest a run of 13 missed cuts as he looks to make a forward move over rounds 3 and 4.
Also through to the weekend was The Island’s Paul McBride who added a 70 to his opening 68 to share 28th alongside Yates while Kinsale’s John Murphy added a 72 to his first round 68 to advance to the paid rounds at four-under. He’ll be joined by fellow Corkonian, James Sugrue who fired a three-under 69 on Friday to make the cut on the number at minus-three.
Marcus Helligkilde will take a three stroke lead into the weekend after a five-under par second round of 67, which included a hole-in-one.
The Dane’s ace came on the 179-yard par three seventh hole at Vierumäki Resort, as he played the four holes before the turn in five under par eventually posting a 16 under par total at the halfway stage.
The 24-year-old realised he’d made a hole-in-one after the reaction of the crowd surrounding the green, admitting he didn’t see the ball drop. For his efforts, he was rewarded with a Yamaha Nike Motorcycle.
“It was about 151 metres and I needed to take one or two metres off my eight iron to land it short which I did. I actually hit it a bit low and pulled it and it landed about four metres right of the flag and ran round to the hole. I couldn’t see the ball go in but I saw all the fans cheering around the green so that was amazing. It’s great to win the bike too.”
The 24-year-old demonstrated great courage as the conditions worsened during the afternoon and despite carding a one over par back nine, he was still very proud of his day’s work.
“It was so difficult out there this afternoon,” he added. “But I hit some good shots into the wind which was very difficult. I managed myself well out there and managed to get around nicely, so I am very happy. I played conservative golf and so that was great for me out there.”
“The greens might soften up with the rain tomorrow, meaning I may be able to attack the flags but the rest of my game plan will remain the same. We have 36 holes left and I’m just going to have fun and play golf.”
Englishman Todd Clements also carded a round of 67 and shares second place with Sweden’s Jesper Kennegard on 13 under par.
Helligkilde’s compatriot Oliver Hundebøll sits in fourth place on 12 under par, while Englishman Ben Hutchinson shares fifth place with Swedish duo Jesper Svensson and Pontus Nyholm on 11 under par.
The third round of the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge will begin at 9:00am local time, with Helligkilde teeing it up alongside Clements and Kennegard at 11:01am.