It was the final hurdle that hit hardest as Gavin Moynihan fell one shot short of the weekend requirement at the Swedish Challenge hosted by Robert Karlsson at Katrineholms Golfklubb.
The Dubliner had played himself into a healthy position at two-under-par after round one but a rollercoaster ride ended on a sour note as his final hole bogey left him one stroke shy of the weekend mark at one-under-par.
That set the tone for the Irish trio tackling Scandinavia this week as Old Conna’s Neil O’Briain (+1) and Ardglass’ Cormac Sharvin (+3) also found themselves on the wrong side of the cut-mark after failing to find their best stuff in Katrineholm.
There were no such fears for England’s Max Orrin who will take a three-shot lead into the weekend after posting a five-under-par 67 for a ten-under total on day two.
Orrin, who also signed for a five under 67 on Thursday, has a three-shot cushion from Oliver Bekker, Eirik Tage Johansen, Jack McDonald and Liam Robinson, who all share second place on seven-under-par.
The Englishman was playing in the penultimate group of the day in sunny Katrineholm and despite carding two bogeys, Orrin overcame a three-shot overnight deficit courtesy of an eagle and five birdies.
The 2013 Walker Cup player was overjoyed with his second successive 67 in what he describes as ‘tricky’ conditions with the wind swirling through the trees in the Swedish countryside.
“It’s been tricky this afternoon,” he said. “There’s a lot of wind about and shots that are difficult around the turn. The wind swirls a lot in the trees and makes a lot of the shots tricky so I’m very happy.
“I’ve been very steady. I found something on the range on Wednesday, just a little trigger that’s made it better for me to get through the ball.
“I’ve had some weeks where I’ve tried to steer it too much and been a bit protective but when you’re swinging free and getting through the shots, it’s a lot easier. I’ve holed my fair share of putts, a lot of putts, so that’s probably the most pleasing bit, the putting.”
The 24-year-old’s opening two rounds are even more impressive considering he was forced to abandon his practice round on Tuesday due to a health scare which resulted in the two-time European Challenge Tour winner spending several hours in hospital.
“I had some lunch on Tuesday and played four or five holes, felt fine, and then on the sixth tee, I just felt a pain go down my neck and into my chest,” he said.
“It was a bit worrying so I said to the boys that I was going to get it checked out and I ended up in hospital for a few hours. Luckily, it wasn’t anything serious and everything was all clear but for a few hours, it was pretty horrible.”
“I think it made me relax a little bit more by thinking there are more important things than golf shots and missing putts. I was quite pleased to just be playing and enjoying it.”
He’s enjoyed previous success in Scandinavia, winning the 2015 Made in Denmark Challenge, and although he’s been out of the winners’ circle for three years he believes his game is trending in the right direction.
“If I go out and make birdies then it’s difficult for the chasing pack,” he said. “I think you just have to stay aggressive and stick to what you’re doing out there.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been in the lead but I feel like I’ve been playing well and trending the right way up the leaderboards.
“I’ve not been getting that much out of weeks but any experience is good experience and hopefully I can just go out, try and make some birdies and pull away from the pack again.”
Bekker and Robinson were two of only three players to post blemish-free rounds on Day Two and the duo, along with Johansen and McDonald in second place, are followed by a group of 12 players on six under in tied sixth, with 11 a shot further back on five under.
France’s Jérôme Lando-Casanova carded the first hole-in-one of the week at the par three seventh, using a four iron to find the hole from 201 yards as the sun began to set in Sweden.