The Ballyclare man fired a three-under par 68 in the dual sanctioned event to make the the projected even par cut with ease on two-under par.
Heavy rain flooded greens late in the afternoon but Denmark’s Mark Haastrup and Colombia’s Ricardo Ruiz were able to keep bogeys off their cards to share the clubhouse lead on nine-under par.
Haastrup made seven birdies for a 64, and Ruiz six for a 65 but the clubhouse co-leaders played early and were lucky to avoid the rain, which made things a little more difficult for those battling the Bogotá CC’s 7,099-yard par-71 in the afternoon.
After almost two hours of rain the greens were flooded, therefore the Tour de las Americas and the European Challenge Tour’s officials decided to suspend play at 4:53 p.m. local time.
At the time of the suspension a total of 115 players had made it home. The 29 players unable to finish will resume their rounds this Saturday at 7 a.m. Once they are done, the cut for the top sixty and ties will be set and the third round will start at 9 a.m. off both, the first and tenth tees.
Limerick's Tim Rice retired before the second round as Birr's Justin Kehoe finished one stroke outside the projected cut on one over after a level par 71 that featured four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey seven at his fourth hole, the 13th.
Michael Hoey's nightmare run of form continued with a five over-par 76 that left him on 12-over par.
On an overcast and chilly Friday, Haastrup was able to produce the best card of the tournament.
After parring his first three holes, his solid day started to flourish with a birdie-par-birdie-birdie run between 13 and 16.
He duplicated that same effort between the first and the fourth and secured the 64 with a final birdie on 8th, his 17th hole.
“I hit a lot of good shots and then, when I hit some bad shots I was able to make the chip and then a good putt. My putting was really good,” commented the 23-year old Danish, pro since last June, after a round of 25 putts.
Ruiz started of the tenth as well and carded a 33 on the back nine, with birdies on 12, 17 and 18.
The 25-year old from Bogotá though it was time to play conservative and secure the score after a string of five pars of the first.
“My plan over the final few holes was to hit the center of the green, but the putter worked out great and I started sinking my birdie chances,” said the local after a hot closing run of birdie-par-birdie-birdie between 6 and 9.
Pro since January 2007 and representing Bogotá’s El Rincón de Cajicá GC, Ruiz is one of Colombia’s up-and-coming players. His best result on the local Tour was a second place finish last year and this is his first chance to measure his level against international players. “I’m quite pleased. I feel that my efforts have been worth it,” added the surprising co-leader.
Only a stroke behind the co-leaders and keeping the good pace that allowed him to win the Argentina Open on Sunday, Finland’s Antti Ahokas, 66 today, shares the third place with Holland’s Will Besseling. Despite the pouring rain, the Dutch was at 4-under for the day with four holes left on his second round.