Michael Hoey shot a one-under par 71 yesterday to stay in the hunt at the halfway stage of the Lyoness Open.
The Northern Ireland man continued to show improved form at Diamond Country Club in Austria following a disappointing first half of the season.
He is six shots behind joint leaders Gregory Bourdy (France) and South Africa’s Zander Lombard.
The overnight leader, Spain’s Adrian Otaegui, discovered what a difference a day can make.
Otaegui held the lead after equalling the course record with a flawless opening 64 on the opening day, but failed to register a single birdie on yesterday.
The 23-year-old carded a double bogey, two bogeys and 15 pars in a disappointing 76 to finish four under par, three shots behind Bourdy and Lombard.
Bourdy’s chances of a fifth European Tour title suffered an early blow when, after starting from the 10th, he bogeyed his second hole of the day, but the world number 135 bounced back with birdies on the 14th and 15th.
After a run of eight straight pars the 34-year-old then completed his round in style, tapping in for birdie on the par-three sixth after a superb tee shot and almost holing his approach from 209 yards on the ninth.
“We were thinking between a five or four iron and I had quite a good lie in the rough,” Bourdy said after signing for a 69.
“We were thinking maybe it was going to fly a bit and it’s dry as well in front of the green, so I think a five iron was the best option and we saw the result.
“It was a great day. It was very tough with the wind blowing the same or harder than yesterday and we had some tough pin positions.”
Lombard surged into a two-shot lead thanks to four birdies in his first six holes and recovered from a bogey on the eighth with another birdie on the ninth, but had to settle for a round of 70 after dropped shots on the 12th and 13th.
“It was so brutal with the wind out there today,” the 21-year-old said. “Club selection was absolutely crucial and with the pins positions today, they were tough with the wind direction.
“I was really hitting great shots on the front nine with just a few misjudgments with the winds on the back nine which cost me a few shots.
“A little three-putt and a bad pitch and that’s all it was. The rest was solid and I’m very happy to be in this position for the weekend.”
France’s Gary Stal is a shot off the pace after adding a 71 to his opening 67, with Spain’s Borja Virto a shot further back on five under. Former champion Joost Luiten and England’s Richard McEvoy are alongside Otaegui on four under.