It was a helter-skelter second round for Olivia Mehaffey in La Manga but the Irishwoman is still in a strong position after two rounds at Q-School as she bids to earn full membership of the Ladies European Tour for next season.
The 24-year-old carded six birdies, three bogeys and a double in a wild one-under-par 70 on the North Course at the Spanish resort as the winds really picked up and caused havoc among the scoring, taking her to three-under for the week.
That leaves Mehaffey where she started the day in third, only now she trails leader Meghan MacLaren by three strokes after the English ace made it back-to-back three-under rounds with a 68 on the North.
The Tandragee woman likely won’t mind too much, though, as the top-20 all earn full category 11 playing rights for next season and she will be far more interested in the fact that she is four shots above the one-over cut line as it stands rather than where she is in relation to the lead.
It was another tough day for Royal Belfast’s Victoria Craig, however, as she struggled to a seven-over 78 on the North to drop back to 10-over, meaning she is already nine shots off the pace, however she will be encouraged by the fact there are still three rounds to go.
Mehaffey will perhaps be disappointed she is not closer to MacLaren at the top after she struggled around the turn in her round, bogeying the eighth and ninth and then double-bogeying the 10th in a horror stretch in the middle of her round.
Before that the former Arizona State star had birdied three of her six holes to shoot up the leaderboard, only to drop back, but she rallied superbly to bring herself back comfortably inside the cut line with birdies at 12, 13 and 16 around a bogey at 15.
That has Mehaffey playing with credit in the bank going into the weekend, four shots above that crucial 20th place, and she will be confident she can close things out over the final three rounds.
Meanwhile, Craig failed to find a birdie in her round as she fell down to 87th on the leaderboard heading into the weekend with a seven-over 78, also on the North Course.
The former West of Ireland champion dropped two shots on her outward nine, at the fifth and ninth, but the damage was done on the inward nine where she saw shots go at 11, 13 and 14 before closing out with back-to-back bogeys, leaving her work to do over the next three days.
At the top, MacLaren mastered the conditions in recording five birdies and two bogeys on her way to a 68 on the North to reach six-under for the week, which has her one clear of second-placed Manon Gidali of France, who dazzled with a bogey-free five-under 66 on the North.
Mehaffey is tied-third alongside Moroccan amateur Ines Lakalech, who shot a 68 on the North, with overnight leader Yvie Chaucheprat dropping well off the pace after an ugly 12-over 85 on the South – that included a quintuple-bogey nine – plummeted her to eight-over and a share of 71st.