Defending champion Clement Sordet carded a brilliant seven under par 64 to move into contention on the second day of the Tayto NI Open.
In ideal scoring conditions, the 23-year-old played mistake free golf collecting seven birdies to end the day on seven under par, two shots behind the leader Wil Besseling.
“It feels pretty good to have seven birdies and see the ball going in the hole. I hit the ball really well and made some great up and downs,” said Sordet.
“It was pretty windy today and hard to score, but I hit some really good shots into the right spots on the green.
“I was even par after my first round and now I’m close to the lead. I’m trying not to think about defending but it would be nice to win it two years in a row.”
The tournament is still playing catch-up after torrential rain on Thursday led to a six hour delay.
Sordet was one of the 78 players who were forced to come back to complete their opening rounds on Friday before filing out again to play round two.
“I teed off yesterday at seven (pm) and played nine holes this morning. I had 35 minutes between rounds. It was hard to go back out there but I did a pretty good job,” added Sordet.
The leading Irish contenders are Damien McGrane, Colm Moriarty and Gary Hurley on six under par, that’s the same mark as Tournament ambassador, Michael Hoey who will have to return this morning to complete round two,
Challenge Tour officials are confident that everything will be back on track by the end of play on Saturday. The 51 players who didn’t manage to complete round two, including Chris Selfridge, will wrap things up this morning before the cut is made and round three gets underway.
One player who won’t be around is 13-year-old Tom McKibbin who followed up an opening round 80 with a highly creditable 76 to miss the cut. The teenager was far from despondent, describing the whole experience as &”enjoyable”.
“I was two under through seven holes, made a couple of mistakes and had a bad finish on the last but apart from that I was very happy,” said Tom.
Meanwhile, Irish amateur Leona Maguire made the cut at the Women’s British Open at Woburn after a two-under-par 70 in yesterday’s second round.
The 21-year-old is eight shots behind leader Mirim Lee of South Korea.
Olivia Mehaffey missed the cut after carding a 74 to end on on five over and four shots off the cut mark.