By Brian Keogh
Amateur ace Peter O'Keeffe stormed into a share of second place at the Stage Two of the European Tour Q-School in Spain.
The big-hitting Douglas talent cracked a four under par 68 at Sherry Golf near Jerez to trail runaway leader Sion Bebb by six shots in a share of second on five under par.
The top 18 at Jerez qualify for next week's finals at San Roque with Mick McGeady 23rd and Alan Murray 69th at halfway.
O'Keeffe is one of five Irishmen currently poised to progress to next week's six-round marathon, where the top 30 and ties will earn European Tour cards for 2008.
At Costa Ballena near Cadiz, one of four qualifying venues this week, Belfast's Damian Mooney followed his opening 65 with a 73 to trail the leader by four shots in a share of third place on six under.
But World Cup bound Michael Hoey is struggling to make the 54-hole cut after a 73 left him near the back of the field on four over.
England’s David Dixon added a 68 to his opening 67 to forge a three stroke lead over Belgium’s Didier de Vooght at Arcos Gardens.
But Hoey's World Cup partner Gareth Maybin is well placed to grab one of 19 spots in a share of 14th after a three under par 69.
At PGA Catalunya, former Walker Cup star Noel Fox fired a solid 71 to share 13th place with Simon Thornton (74) with the top 17 set to progress.
Frenchman Benoit Teilleria leads in Catalonia after a superb seven under par 65 took him to 11 under par, two clear of Spain’s Juan Parron and ten ahead of Fox and Thornton.
Costa Ballena (Par 72, 20 qualify)
Leader J Bland (Aus) 67 67 134; T 3 D Mooney (NIr) 65 73 138; T 69 M Hoey (NIr) 75 73 148;
Arcos Gardens (Par 72, 19 qualify)
Leader D Dixon (Eng) 67 68 135; T 14 G Maybin (NIr) 73 69 142; T 22 C Devlin (NIr) 71 72 143; T 40 G Robinson (Irl) 72 74 146; T 54 M McDermott (Irl) 75 73 148.
PGA de Catalunya (Par 72, 17 qualify)
Leader B Teilleria (Fra) 68 65 133; T13 N Fox (Irl) 72 71 143, S Thornton (Irl) 69 74 143; T 40 G Cullen (Irl) 72 75 147; T 62 R Kilpatrick (NIr) 74 77 151.
Sherry Golf (Par 72, 18 qualify)
Leader S Bebb (Wal) 65 68 133; T2 P O'Keeffe (Irl) 71 68 139; T 23 M McGeady (Irl) 73 69 142; T 69 A Murray (Irl) 78 73 151.