Damien McGrane stormed to second round 67 as Aussie amateur Aaron Pike moved two shots clear at the MasterCard Masters.

The Kells ace fired five birdies to scorch 71 places up the leaderboard and survive the cut with two shots to spare on one under in Melbourne.

But he still finished the day 10 shots behind surprise leader Pike - the former cricket player who only took up the game five years ago.

Justin Rose hit a six under par 66 to get to nine under but Pike added a 69 to his opening 66 to move two shots in front of the English ace at halfway.

Pike, 21, bogeyed his last two holes but still reckons he can shoot 11 under for the last two rounds as well and become the first amateur to win a European Tour sanctioned event.

He said: "Just because I'm leading or just because there might be top-20 golfers breathing down my neck, I'm not going to go out there and hit a thousand balls on Saturday morning to try to get better.

"I've shown for the first two days that I can play and if I do it again, if I shoot 11 under again which is do-able, it's going to be hard for one of those guys to run over the top of me."

Reformed Aussie bad-boy Kurt Barnes fired a 66 to grab third place on eight under par after giving up alcohol and going on a fitness kick.

Barnes said: "A lot of people have been saying that I'm the bad boy of the tour and it's not an image you want to carry around.

"I'm hopefully getting rid of that image and it's showing with the weight loss and the performances hopefully in the year to come."

Australians dominated the leaderboard at halfway with England's Simon Khan the next best of the European contingent on seven under after a 66.

But it was a mixed day for the three Irishmen in action with McGrane's 67 the best of the bunch.

The Knightsbrook touring pro kept a bogey off his card to make his second cut in a row on the 2007 schedule.

But there was also good news for Heritage pro Gary Murphy, who hit a two under par 70 to make the weekend with a shot to spare.

Peter Lawrie missed out by two shots despite carding a two under par 70 in difficult conditions.