Nolan and Moran in the mix at Brabazon

Ronan MacNamara
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Robert Moran (Photo by David Cannon/R&A via Getty Images)

Liam Nolan and Robert Moran are five shots off the lead at the halfway stage of the Brabazon Trophy at Saunton.

Nolan carded a one-over 72 while Moran backed up an opening 71 with a two-under 69 to move alongside his compatriot on that number. 2021 Irish Amateur runner-up Nicola Gerhardsen of Switzerland is also on minus two.

Irish Amateur Open runner-up Matthew McClean of Malone is a shot further back after rounds of 70 and 71.

South African starlet Christiaan Maas is the man to catch at the top on seven-under after he backed up his 65 with a steady one-under 70. The springbok leads English duo Arron Edwards-Hill and defending champion Sam Bairstow.

Bairstow turned up the heat on the young South African with a superb round of 65.

“I was very pleased because, looking at the weather last night, level par would have been a good score. To shoot six under is a big bonus.

“Yesterday gave me a false perspective seeing some good scores come in early. I put a bit of pressure on myself to shoot a score whereas today I just played and it showed in my score.

“Obviously it’s nice to have won this tournament before so to win it twice would be even better.

“I wouldn’t mind the trophy being back in the car come Sunday night!”

Maas has carded fifteen birdies in his 36 holes and hit eighteen greens in regulation during his first round but his second round was all about the flat stick which rescued him on several occasions.

“I’m playing well. The fact I hit 18 greens in regulation on Thursday showed I was in control of my irons. I just need to knock in a few more putts and see what happens.”

“From holes 12-14 I was hitting it everywhere and into every spot you can’t be in!

“I’ve made a lot more birdies than expected – even today I managed six – but just too many dropped shots.”

The cut fell at six-over and Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley was comfortably inside the mark on three-over after rounds of 72 and 73.

Sligo’s TJ Ford battled hard to make the cut on plus five as did Jack McDonnell who made it on the number.

West of Ireland winner Alan Fahy was a casualty on eight-over while Marc Boucher fell to an 82 to miss on +11.

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