Defending champion Niall Kearney took a firm grip on proceedings at Dundalk GC yesterday, carding a second round 66 to reach 13 under with 36 holes remaining.
The 27-year-old from The Royal Dublin GC has an eight-shot lead over Richard Kilpatrick (69) and Colm Moriarty (72) with David Ryan (67) and David Higgins (65) a shot further back on four under par after 36 holes.
Heavy fog led to a three-hour delay yesterday morning and by the close of play, 52 competitors had still to complete their second rounds, including James Quinlivan (Mullingar) who opened his campaign on Thursday with a 66. They will return early today to finish, with officials planning to use a two-tee start on Saturday afternoon in a bid to get the third round wrapped up.
Higgins, the current Order of Merit leader, carded a 65, 10 shots better than his opening round. In contrast, his main rival for the Order of Merit title, Eamonn Brady, fired a four-over par 76 to slip back into a share of 10th on three under par.