Malahide’s Paul McBride navigated extremely tough conditions at Egypt’s Madinaty Golf Club, to post a level-par 71, and climb to a three-way tie for fifth place before play was twice halted – first for wind, then for darkness.
Having opened with a two-over 73 in slightly calmer winds, McBride’s second-round 71 was only bettered by Englishman Jack Floydd’s incredible 64, with two others matching the Irishman and the remaining 50 early-morning starters shooting over-par.
Two bogeys on his opening five holes was in no way a poor start, given the conditions, but he got a shot back on the seventh hole and another on the 12th to get back to level for the day, and then traded another bogey and a birdie on the closing stretch to sign for a level par round that saw him rise six spots on the leaderboard as countless others dropped out of contention.
Gavin Moynihan is next best-placed of the Irish at T18 on +5, having gone round in a four-over 75 alongside McBride.
Michael Young lies four shots further adrift on +9, also having completed his round, and one shot shy of the provisional cut mark. Conor O’Rourke and Daniel Brennan are tied at +10, with the latter only completing 12 holes in his second round before play was called due to darkness.
With 48 and ties making the 36-hole cut, there is still a possibility that all five may make it through, depending on weather conditions tomorrow, but Robin Dawson, who reached the clubhouse at +13, looks set to miss out.
Speaking afterwards, McBride was understandably delighted with his round. “It’s been really windy,” he said, “and the greens are quite firm, and they’re quick, so that’s what’s been the really hard part. It’s wide enough off the tee, but the approach shots are really hard and around the green it’s really difficult.
“It was very tough so I’m very happy with it. I think I was two-over early on, so I got it back and shot level par, but Jack Floydd shot seven-under which seems a bit outrageous really, but I’m happy with level-par.
“It’s the best round [Floydd’s] that I can remember in a tournament I’ve played, I can’t remember anyone shooting a score that is so much better than the average on the day, so it’s probably the best round I can remember, to be honest.”
Floydd’s incredible 64 sees him top the leaderboard at -5, alongside fellow Englishman Ben Jones, who matched McBride’s 71 in the worst of the conditions. They are six shots clear of Sam Rook and Enrico DiNitto, both of whom have six holes to complete on Thursday morning, with McBride one shot further adrift.
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