Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan have left themselves work to do to make the cut at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura and put themselves in with a chance of earning the money required to keep their plauying rights for next season.
Dunne is presently 118th on the Race to Dubai standings, with only the top 117 earning full playing privileges for the 2019-2020 campaign, while Moynihan faces a much sterner task, as he presently lies 140th in the rankings.
Their immediate goal will be to make the weekend, with Dunne in 76th position after a level-par 71 that included four birdies that were traded off with a double-bogey six on the seventh hole and bogeys on the 18th and ninth after he started from the 10th.
Moynihan faces a tougher challenge after a three-over 74 that included four dropped shots and just a single birdie, at the par-five fifth.
Michael Hoey was the top Irish golfer in action after a one-under 70 that included three birdies in four holes on his front nine, while Ryder Cup captain Pádraig Harrington carded a two-over 73.
At the top of the leaderboard, South Africa's Louis De Jager enjoys a two-shot lead having opened with an eight-under-par 63 at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.
De Jager registered eight birdies in his bogey-free round, including five in his first seven holes – the 32-year-old having started the week 123rd in the rankings.
De Jager's compatriot Justin Walters, Englishman Oliver Fisher and Australia's Jake McLeod are all on six under.
Walters and Fisher – who produced the first 59 in European Tour history with his second round at this event last year – are 121st and 112th in the rankings respectively, while McLeod is 159th.
After shooting a 65 featuring seven birdies and a bogey on Thursday, Fisher said: “The best thing I can do is go out there and be clear about what I’m doing and not let my mind wander too much and think ‘what if’.
“It’s a week I like and a course I like. I’ll go out and give it my best and stay in the moment as much as I can and see what happens.
“I actually played really well today but it’s funny to think I had to be six shots better to do that  again. It was a great day. This course has given low scores over the years – anything is possible out there. It’s nice to go out there with a bit of expectation after that good round last year.”
A group of seven players are a further shot back, including a pair of Fisher's compatriots – Matthew Southgate and David Horsey.
The others on five under are Italy's Renato Paratore, South Korea's Jeunghun Wang, South African duo Darren Fichardt and Brandon Stone and the USA's Sihwan Kim.
British and Irish unless stated, par 71:
63 Louis De Jager (Rsa)
65 Jake McLeod (Aus), Justin Walters (Rsa), Oliver Fisher
66 Sihwan Kim (Kor), Jeunghun Wang (Kor), Brandon Stone (Rsa), David Horsey, Darren Fichardt (Rsa), Matthew Southgate, Renato Paratore (Ita)
67 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den), Matt Wallace, Jack Singh Brar, Martin Kaymer (Ger), Ashley Chesters, Adrien Saddier (Fra), Shubhankar Sharma (Ind), Sam Horsfield, Thomas Bjorn (Den), Alejandro Canizares (Esp), Eddie Pepperell
68 Adri Arnaus (Esp), Anton Karlsson (Swe), Kalle Samooja (Fin), Alexander Bjork (Swe), Haydn Porteous (Rsa), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp), Robert Karlsson (Swe), Andy Sullivan, Robert Rock, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin), Romain Wattel (Fra), Stephen Gallacher, Jamie Donaldson, John Catlin (USA), Lee Westwood
69 Steven Brown, Joakim Lagergren (Swe), Tom Lewis, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa), Joachim B Hansen (Den), Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn), Hugo Leon (Chi), Chris Wood, David Howell, Niklas Lemke (Swe), Chris Paisley, George Coetzee (Rsa), Hideto Tanihara (Jpn), Tiago Cruz (Por), Tom Murray, Max Orrin, Jordan Smith, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita), Alexander Levy (Fra)
70 Ben Evans, Ross Fisher, Oliver Wilson, Grant Forrest, Joao Carlota (Por), Pablo Larrazabal (Esp), Kristian Krogh Johannessen (Nor), Dean Burmester (Rsa), Nicolai Hojgaard (Den), Adrian Otaegui (Esp), Michael Hoey, Tomas Gouveia (a) (Por), Richard McEvoy, (a) Daniel Rodrigues (Por), Nick Cullen (Aus), Liam Johnston, Trevor Immelman (Rsa), Joel Girrbach (Swi), Nino Bertasio (Ita)
71 David Law, Thomas Aiken (Rsa), Maximilian Kieffer (Ger), Guido Migliozzi (Esp), Callum Shinkwin, David Borda (Esp), Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Marc Warren, Paul Dunne, Dimitrios Papadatos (Aus), Bradley Dredge
72 Ricardo Gouveia (Por), Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Steve Webster, Matthieu Pavon (Fra), Espen Kofstad (Nor), Ryan Fox (Nzl), Mikko Korhonen (Fin), Rikard Karlberg (Swe), Lee Slattery, Tomas Santos Silva (Por), David Drysdale, Jeff Winther (Den), Paul Lawrie, Bernd Ritthammer (Ger), Min Woo Lee (Aus)
73 Filippo Bergamaschi (Ita), Kristoffer Reitan (Nor), Clement Sordet (Fra), Daniel Gavins, Hyo-won Park (Kor), Pedro Figueiredo (Por), Nacho Elvira (Esp), Pádraig Harrington, Jens Dantorp (Swe)
74 Tomas Guimaraes Bessa (Por), Stuart Manley, Gavin Moynihan, Max Schmitt (Ger), Pedro Cruz Silva (a) (Por), Deyen Lawson (Aus), Miguel null Gaspar (Por), Eduardo De La Riva (Esp)
75 Matthew Nixon, Per Langfors (Swe)
76 Michael Campbell (Nzl), Sam Brazel (Aus), Scott Gregory, Alvaro Quiros (Esp)
78 Ivan Cantero Gutierrez (Esp)
83 Matteo Manassero (Ita)