A bogey free 67 from Irishman Stuart Grehan leaves him two shots off the pace at the British Challenge at St. Mellion.
The Tullamore man made 5 birdies and no mistakes to sit in a five way tie for third which includes the brother of Matthew Fitzpatrick Alex, along with Lucas Bjierregaard Andrea Pavan and South Africa’s JJ Shenkel.
The quintet are 2 shots behind leader Josh Hilleard, who shot a second consecutive 4 under par 68 to lead by 1 over Wales’s Stuart Manley.
The 28-year-old, playing his first full season on the Challenge Tour having graduated from the EuroPro Tour in 2022, reached the turn two under par before adding three birdies and just one bogey on the way home to take the outright lead.
Hilleard said limiting mistakes was the key to success around the tough layout in Cornwall.
“I didn’t make too many mistakes and when I did I got over them quite well,” he said. “That’s really the aim of the game, especially on a golf course like this. You’re going to be out of position a few times but it’s all about how well you recover.”
Brutal conditions are expected over the weekend with expected storms pushing tomorrow’s tee times forward.
Leader Josh Hilleard, who’s best finish of the season is 9th, is hoping to draw on previous experience on this course over the weekend.
“The weather forecast is meant to be brutal,” he added. “That’ll actually be more like the conditions I’ve played here before. I’ve played in high winds; it makes it very tough. Hopefully it’s not too difficult but we’ll see.”
“Managing your way around is the key here. It’s not necessarily how you hit it, it’s more where you hit it and the scores that you can extract.”
Jonathan Caldwell is the best of the rest of the Irish contingent after following his opening 67 with a less eventful 72 to lie 3 shots off the lead in 9 way tie for 9th place.
Cameron Raymond shot a second 70 in a row to leave himself 4 under par and just inside the top 20, 4 shots off the pace.
Conor Purcell is one shot further back on 3 under par after a second round 70 and Dermot McElroy just made the cut on the number after an even par 72.
The Irish players will look to take advantage of morning tee times before the weather becomes a factor and hope that the leaders slip up to force their way into contention.
A trio of Irishmen will have the weekend off with Niall Kearney, Conor O’Rourke and Ronan Mullarney all missing the cut.
Kearney will be disappointed as a 1 over 73, which included a double bogey, left him 1 shot outside the 1 under cut mark.
O’Rourke and Mullarney followed their first round 73s with a 76 and a 78 respectively to lie at 5 over and 7 over, well outside the cut mark.
Day three gets under way at 6:45am local time with Hilleard teeing it up at 8:35am alongside Manley and Bjerregaard.