A rare appearance for Ruaidhri McGee on the European Tour ended in disappointment after he fell short of the halfway cut at the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily.
The Rosapenna professional’s first round 77 was to blame but he returned a much improved even-par 71 in tough conditions in round two to finish his tournament on six-over-par, four shots outside the cut-mark.
With one million euros worth of prize money on offer and valuable world ranking points to go along with it, it obviously proved to be a disappointing venture into elite company for McGee.
However, such experiences will no doubt whet the appetite and prove a valuable source of motivation to spur on his Challenge Tour ambitions for the rest of the season.
Lucas Bjerregaard and Julien Guerrier share the halfway lead after another wild and windy day at Verdura Golf Club.
Dane Bjerregaard entered round two in a share of the lead but Frenchman Guerrier was the only player to stay bogey-free over two days as he carded a 65 to get to nine under.
Strong winds made it difficult for the afternoon starters but Bjerregaard produced some impressive golf after the turn to get to ten under before a bogey on the 16th dropped him back into a share of top spot after a 68.
Guerrier regained his playing privileges via the Challenge Tour last season after graduating from the Qualifying School in 2009 and 2011 and is already on course for his best season on the European Tour.
His third-place finish at the NBO Oman Open was his best result since the 2014 Madeira Islands Open – Portugal – BPI and one of two top-10s this season as he goes in search of a first European Tour victory.
“I’m playing really good”, acknowledged the joint-leader. “I made no bogies, so in these conditions, in two rounds, to make no bogies is really good.
“I was playing so-so on the front nine, I was not very focused, but when the wind picked up I was more focused and my game came back, and it was really interesting to see that.”
“I come from La Rochelle, it’s very windy so I think it helped me a lot. I also won the British Amateur so I think I like the windy conditions but it’s just two rounds. There are two more rounds so the road is long.
Englishmen Steven Brown and Ryan Evans were then at eight under, just one shot clear of Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera, who carded the lowest round of the week with a 64.
Swede Joakim Lagergren, who recently finished in a tie for third at the Trophée Hassan II, was five under for the day through nine holes after birdies on the 11th, 12th, 14th, 16th and 17th, while home favourites Francesco Laporta and Andrea Pavan were then at four under alongside English pair Paul Waring and Steve Webster.