Robert Moran is the halfway leader at the 56th edition of the Lytham Trophy on a day of tough scoring at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
After 36-holes only three players are under-par as Royal Lytham showed its teeth on Saturday.
Castle golfer Moran is on four-under after successive rounds of 68 and he holds a one-shot lead over Spanish Amateur champion John Gough heading into the Bank Holiday weekend.
The Irish international carded four birdies and two bogeys to move to the summit and could have been further ahead had it not been for a chastening triple-bogey on the 18th on Friday night.
However, Moran was able to put aside his disappointment and give himself every chance of lifting silverware on Monday afternoon.
Birdies on seven and eight on Saturday saw him turn in 32 before he dropped his first shot of the day on the 11th. Birdies on 13 and 16 were followed by a dropped shot on the 18th.
Overnight leader Matthew McClean struggled on day two falling to a seven-over 77 after an opening 66 and the Malone golfer made the cut on three-over-par.
Dundalk’s Eoin Murphy is the next best of the Irish on one-over and is just four back of Moran after a three-over 73.
The Maynooth University student faltered at the finish carding three successive bogeys to end his round.
There will be plenty of Irish interest over the Bank Holiday weekend as Ratoath’s Jack McDonnell and Royal Dublin’s Richard Knightly made the cut on five and six-over and they can’t be ruled out with a good round on Sunday.
2021 West of Ireland champion Hugh Foley missed the cut by a shot on plus eight while West of Ireland runner-up Liam Nolan was a shot further back.