Ruaidhri McGee decided one venture down route 66 wasn’t enough for one tournament as he took the highway once more to fly to 12-under par at the halfway stage of the Turkish Airlines Challenge.
The Rosapenna professional, who went blemish-free on day one, carded two bogeys in round two, but for an eagle and six birdies to more than undo the damage in another superb showing.
McGee rose two places and into a share of 5th at minus-12, amazingly still four back of a lead set at a sizeable 16-under par tally after Mark Flindt Haastrup shot the lights out with a sizzling 61.
Still, it’s all to play for at Samsun Golf Club where McGee was just one of two Irish to make a brutally sharp halfway cut in Turkey.
The other was Naas professional, Conor O’Rourke who enjoyed a birdie blitz on his inward half to ensure safe weekend progression.
The Kildare pro had opened with a stellar 68 but when he went out in 37, O’Rourke knew something was needed on the way home to make the cut. And sure enough, he delivered in the most spectacular fashion, gaining six shots on an inward half of 30 to sneak inside the top-20 at nine-under par after a brilliant 67.
With seven Irish taking their chance in Turkey this week, five failed to advance to the weekend as the hot scoring of the Challenge Tour coughed up a rude awakening for anyone trying to make it to the top table of golf. At this level, it’s arguably most unforgiving and even having gotten himself into the red after opening with a superb six-under par 66, The Island’s Paul McBride’s minus-four total in the Samsun clubhouse after 36-holes wasn’t enough to see him through.
The Dubliner traded five bogeys and three birdies in a hard-fought two-over par 74 this morning but missed out on the weekend mark by a single stroke despite his best efforts.
Another man to get himself into the red for the week at one-under par was Cormac Sharvin, who also fell foul of the magic mark.
With the minus-fives and better advancing to Saturday, Sharvin’s 71 fell four shots shy, while there was also disappointment for Tramore’s Robin Dawson who rallied after an opening 76 with a four-under par 68 to miss out by five at even par.
Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell was another who gave himself too much to do with a 76 on day one as he bounced back for some pride points with a three-under par 69, while West Waterford’s Gary Hurley endured a disappointing tumble down the leaderboard as he dropped well short of what was required at plus-10.