European Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley is battling to make his first cut since last year’s Irish Open at the weather-delayed Ballantine’s Championship in Korea.
The Dubliner, who has been struggling with knee and back problems for several years, has made the weekend just once since he came 54th in that memorable Irish Open at Royal Portrush nine months ago.
While he was 70th of 78 in the limited field BMW Masters at Lake Malaren in Shanghai last October, where there was no halfway cut and this week marks his first opportunity to make the weekend after a run of 10 events drawing a blank.
Playing for the first time since he withdrew with back trouble during the second round of the Thailand Open five weeks ago, the 46-year old world No 366 was one under for his second round through 10 holes and teetering on the level par cut mark when play was suspended for the day due to darkness at Blackstone Golf Club.
One hour and 20 minutes was lost earlier in the day due to lightning, adding to the disruption caused by poor visibility during Thursday’s first round, with none of the afternoon groups completing their second rounds on Friday.
Peter Lawrie, who was sixth overnight after an opening 68, was back in joint 31st on two under after making three bogeys and just one birdie in his opening 10 holes when officials called it a day just after 7pm local time.
Damien McGrane, struggling to keep his card at 138th in the Race to Dubai, was a shot outside the projected cut on one-over after an opening double bogey six and five pars left him with work to do when he returns to the course a 7.30am local time on Saturday.
Ballyclare’s Gareth Maybin looked certain to miss the cut after a second successive 73 left him on two over par as Australian Ormsby and Thailand’s Vongvanij set the pace on seven under after rounds of 67 and 69 respectively.
Englishman James Morrison carded a superb six under par 66 to join Sweden’s Alexander Noren (67) and South African Jbe Kruger (67) on six under par 138 with England’s Tommy Fleetwood (71) another shot back on five under.
Neither Ormsby nor Vongvanij let the delays affect their concentration, Ormsby finishing his round with two birdies in the last three holes as he looks to capture a maiden European Tour title following his first professional win a fortnight ago in the Panasonic Open India on the Asian Tour.
Ormsby said: “Today I felt good straight out of the blocks. I had a good back nine and then holed a couple of putts coming in.
“I’ve played a lot of events in Europe, but I have never won on The European Tour, with second my best result in the New Zealand Open.
“So it’s a big event, but it is still the same process, it’s still playing golf. My game feels good, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and see where I finish up.”
Vongvanij, who has lived in America for ten years after attending the David Leadbetter Academy in Florida, dropped only one shot, carding four birdies to match Ormsby’s clubhouse target.
“I’m really happy with the way I played the past 36 holes,” he said. “The conditions were not easy, and the pins were kind of tough, especially with the wind blowing. So I’ll take what I can get.”
Three-time European Tour champion Noren, felt he benefitted from the suspension in play, carding four birdies in his final six holes.
He said: “We got a break there when it started raining and my game wasn’t too sharp in the middle of the round. But then we got a break, got some food and then some birdies. It’s a nice feeling now.”
World No 7 Louis Oosthuizen was three shots off the pace on four under after completing a 69 this morning and then adding a round of 71.
The 2010 Open Champion carded two birdies and 15 pars, with his solitary bogey coming on the ninth - his final hole - when he failed to get up and down from left of the green.