Peter Lawrie brought the signature 17th to life with a near ace - then birdied the last to make the cut with a shot to spare.
A shot outside the mark with two to play, the Dubliner hit his tee shot stone dead to raise a massive roar at the par-three before finishng with another birdie at the par-five 18th.
“It’s a difficult golf course, it really is, especially the conditions we got it in the afternoon,” Lawrie said. “Hopefully I’ll get out there tomorrow, get a decent score under my belt in the morning time and hopefully I’ll put myself in a position for Sunday.”
Lawrie’s finish got the attention of local hope Shane Lowry, who produced a carbon copy finish just minutes later.
“I was the group behind Peter Lawrie and watched him hit it in pretty much stone stead, almost made hole-in-one, and made birdie there and I rolled in a 20 footer for birdie, Lowry said. “It’s good the crowd have that and great for us players as well.
“The roar on 17, that was interesting, it was good, and hopefully I’ll give them something to roar about the weekend.”
Ulster stars Gareth Shaw and Alan Dunbar suffered contrasting fortunes as they made the Irish Open cut with ease.
But while Shaw was delighted to birdie three of his last four holes for a 68 to make it on three under, Dunbar was hopping mad as he got to four under for the tournament with two holes to play only to finish with a brace of frustrating three-putts
The Rathmore rookie, who won the British Amateur Championship just over 12 months ago, three-putted the par-five eighth from 40 feet and the easy ninth from 60 feet.
“I wasn’t playing well but I got myself into a good position so to finish with two bogeys was pretty disappointing,” Dunbar said after adding a level par 72 to his opening 70. “Eight and nine are not the hardest holes and I knew if I had given myself a couple of chances there I could have been well up the leaderboard.
“But I’ve made the cut so a good score tomorrow and I’ll be right back in it. I was sort of losing momentum a bit towards the turn but made a couple of birdies and then had those two three-putts at the end. Still, it’s always nice to play well — especially at the Irish Open
“Conditions around here are not easy and this course can eat you up a bit if you start going the wrong way — the greens are exposed and putting is tough out there.”
Shaw battled so hard to make the cut he birdied the 15th, 17th and 18th to find himself on the fringes of contention on three under.
“I’m quite good when I’m on the cut mark,” said the Galgorm Castle touring professional. “I don’t know why but grind it out. Again, today, it’s more evidence that I can do that again and I’m delighted.”
Currently enjoying a solid season on the Challenge Tour, Shaw only got into the Irish Open late last week thanks to Simon Thornton’s victory in St Omer. And he took advantage, getting up and down from 70 yard for birdie at the 15th before hitting a seven iron to 12 feet at the par-three 17th and a 92-yard wedge to two feet at the last.
“My game is solid, but it’s all about the putting,” the 27-year old said. “If I can hole some putts, you never know what can happen.”
Meanwhile, four time European Tour winner Michael Hoey was left to rue 36 putts in a four over 76 as he slipped back to one under par.
“I just didn’t have the pace of the greens,” said Hoey, who drove into the face of a trap on his 15th hole and double bogeyed. “They didn’t cut them because of the wind and the putts weren’t rolling out as well as yesterday.”
Simon Thornton followed his 69 with a 73 to make the cut on one under while West Waterford’s Seamus Power made it on the level par mark when he recovered from a triple bogey seven at his fifth hole, the 14th, to card a 75.