David Higgins holds a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the PGA Professional Championship at Slaley Hall.
The Waterville professional is on four-under-par after successive rounds of 70 saw him rise to the summit early on Thursday before he was caught by England’s Matthew Cort.
Higgins has been in fine form this season and already has a win in Dundalk under his belt at the Feidhlim McKibbin Memorial Pro-Am.
Starting on the back nine, Higgins’ opening half was bookended by bogeys but three birdies in four holes on 13, 15 and 16 saw him turn in 35.
The Cork native added further birdies on the second and third holes as he made his way towards the clubhouse and after dropping a shot on the 5th he finished well with four steady pars.
There are sixteen players currently under-par through 36 holes at Slaley which recently played host to the Asian Tour’s International Series which was won by Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe.
The top-15 are separated by just three shots so it is still all up for grabs over the next two days.
Simon Thornton will rue a disappointing finish to his round but he is still in a good position as he lurks in the long grass on level-par.
The Tulfarris professional carded three bogeys in his final five holes – while he birdied the 16th to come home in 38 and settle for a one-over 73.
Dropped shots on the fourteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth ruined what had been a steady round until that point with just one birdie on the 2nd being his only move.
Limerick’s Tim Rice who won in Carne last week will also be cursing his luck after a bad back nine dropped him to the fringes of contention.
Rice signed for a one-over 73 to lie on that mark after a torrid back nine of 40. Bogeys on the 11 and 14 were followed by a chastening double on the last.
Four birdies in his opening six holes saw him turn in 33 and he will need something similar on Thursday to get back into this from five adrift.
The cut fell at three-over with Richard Kilpatrick, Colm Moriarty and Michael McGeady among the notable names to miss out.