Muskerry’s Niall Turner blasted a brilliant seven under par 64 at Golf d’Hardelot to grab a share of halfway lead with Welshman Mark Laskey at the European Tour First Qualifying Stage – Section C. Royal Dubin’s Neil O’Briain, Limerick’s Cian McNamara and Lurgan’s Gareth Shaw, in Italy, were also inside the qualifying places with two rounds to go.
A regular on the Asian Tour, where he is 75th in the money list with $24,128 from eight events, former Irish Close finalist Turner moved to ten under par 132 on a glorious day in France.
O’Briain, a former US college rival of US PGA champion Keegan Bradley when he was at Wofford, is just a shot off the pace after a second round 67.
The top 19 players and ties will progress through to the Second Qualifying Stage with McNamara just inside that make in an eight-way tie for 15th on four under despite following a 65 with a 73.
The Curragh’s Paul O’Hanlon is just two shots outside the top 19 and ties on two under after a fine 67 but Tim Rice is now four shots back in tied 43rd on level after rounds of 69 and 73.
At Bogogno, Ulsterman Shaw is the only Irish player inside the top 26 and ties who will progress to Stage Two after 72 holes.
Switzerland’s Martin Rominger, Dane Lasse Sonne Nielsen and Finland’s Jaako Makitalo share the lead on eight under with Shaw tied for 18th on three under.
Twenty-seven players were on two under or better with two rounds, leaving Richard Kilpatrick with work to do from one over (71-74).
Ruaidhri Magee is three over after rounds of 75 and 72 with amateur Robbie Cannon (72-76) a shot further back.
The Second Stage will be played over 72 holes in the first week of December over four courses in Spain - Costa Ballena Ocean Club, Las Colinas G & CC, El Valle Golf Resort and the South Course at La Manga Club.
Those who make the grade at the Second Qualifying Stage move on to the six-round examination of the Final Qualifying Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort, Girona, Spain from December 10-15.