Ruaidhri McGee continued his excellent run of form on the Challenge Tour as he moved into the top-10 at the Italian Challenge Open in Viterbo with a fine second round.
The Irishman, who finished runner-up at last week’s Open de Bretagne in only his second start since 2020, looks set for another big weekend on the second-tier circuit after he carded the lowest round of the field, a six-under 65, on day two at Golf Nazionale.
Seven birdies and one bogey took McGee up to ninth on the leaderboard and the 31-year-old is just four shots off leader Freddy Schott heading into the weekend as he goes in search of his first Challenge Tour win.
Germany’s Schott maintained his overnight lead with a three-under 68 in Viterbo to move up to nine-under-par, and, even though he didn’t sound it after his round, the 21-year-old will surely be frustrated at finishing with back-to-back bogeys that saw his lead cut from three shots to just one.
“I’m very happy with my work today,” he said. “My iron and wedge play was good but my putting could have been a bit better. I had an unfortunate finish but I had some luck during the middle part of my round so I can’t complain today.
“I’m just going to chill out and have a pool session later. I need to recover properly because this is such an important event for us, and I probably won’t hit another ball until tomorrow morning.”
France’s Damian Perrier is his closest challenger, matching McGee’s 65 to move up to eight-under-par, with four players a shot further back at seven-under.
Galgorm teen Tom McKibbin is also in for the weekend after he found five birdies in his second round, but they were accompanied by a double-bogey and a bogey resulting in a two-under 69 that moves him into a share of 25th at two-under-par.
It was not such a good day for Mallow’s James Sugrue, though, as six bogeys and two birdies contributed to a four-over 75 that saw him miss the level-par cut line by a considerable margin, ending his week at 10-over-par.
Gavin Moynihan withdrew from the tournament before he began his second round. The 27-year-old had recorded a six-over 77 in his first round, with no reason given for his withdrawal.