England’s Paul Waring had been at the top of the pile on his own for most of Friday at the Open de Espana at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid after matching the low round of the week — a sizzling eight-under-par 63 with 10 birdies and two bogeys.
But the Scot Stephen Gallacher joined him on 12 under after a second straight 65, which included seven birdies and just the one dropped shot.
Gallacher’s fellow Scot David Drysdale is one shot behind alongside South African Hennie Du Plessis after they both went round in 66, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Darius van Driel (two of the three overnight co-leaders), Jon Rahm, Min Woo Lee and Matthieu Pavon are on 10 under.
Niall Kearney was the best of the Irish at four-under-par after second straight round of 69. His round included four birdies and two bogeys and sits eight strokes off the lead in tied 36th place. Paul Dunne and Jonathan Caldwell also made the cut on the number, with Dunne overcoming a double bogey 6 at the 12th hole to finish two under. Gavin Moynihan (level par), David Carey (+7) and Cormac Sharvin (+8) will not make the weekend after missing the cut.
Waring posted birdies at his first three holes before a drop shot at the fifth but he was on a quick climb up the leader board after another three-hole birdie blitz from the eighth.
He bogeyed the 13th, but finished with four birdies on the bounce from the next hole as his putter got hot.
Rahm, looking to match Seve Ballesteros and win his national Open for a third time, came to life on the back nine after a slow start and shot a 68 that included three bogeys.
But a run of four birdies in five holes from the 12th put him back in contention and he gave the crowd something to cheer about with his wedge shot at the 16th, almost holing from the fairway for eagle. The Spaniard missed a shortish putt at the last that would have taken him to within a shot of Waring and Gallacher.