Ruaidhri McGee was the pick of the Irish contingent on the second morning at the Irish Challenge hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort after a 69 took him to level par.
The 26 year old, who hails from Derry, picked up a shot on the 11th hole, his second, but dropped another two shots by the turn to leave himself on the cut line at four over par.
However, a stellar front nine, which included an eagle on the par five fifth hole, brought him home in 32 strokes and took him inside the top 20 in Carlow. Now the leading Irishman on home soil and the one to watch for the local crowds over the weekend, McGee was delighted with how he handled the trying conditions.
“It’s been a windy couple of days and the course is playing very tough. I felt I played pretty well yesterday and didn’t really get too much out of it,” he reflected after his round.
“Today started off the same way and I was getting fed up on my front nine so I was happy to hole a few on the back nine. I chipped in for the eagle on the fifth and holed a couple more too. It was a nice way to finish the round and I hope I can carry that back nine form into the weekend.”
Arguably the story of the day, however, was 17 year old amateur Mark Power, who had to take two days off school to take part in the tournament.
After struggling to an 83 on the first day, Power fired an incredible round of 67 – the lowest round of anyone so far this week – to get heads turning among the professionals.
No stranger to us even at this stage in his golfing career, his six over par total for 36 holes is likely to be too many to make the cut, but it gave early notice to those who needed it of a significant potential talent hailing from Kilkenny Golf Club.
Meanwhile, overnight leader and winner of last week’s Bridgestone Challenge Oscar Lengden extended his advantage at the top of the leaderboard, a second successive 68 taking the Swede to eight under par.