By Brian Keogh
Gary Murphy prevented his season from sliding deeper in crisis after a battling 72 in the $2.3 million BMW Asian Open.
The Kilkenny king, 34, made the weekend on the two over mark to avoid his fifth missed cut from just 10 starts this season.
And while he's a massive 11 shots behind halfway leader Raphael Jacquelin, Murphy at least has a chance to move up from a lowly 169th on money list.
Jacquelin hit a 69 to open up a three stroke lead from Korea's Sun-man Lee on nine under par.
But he'll be looking over his shoulder at the weekend with Colin Montgomerie just four behind after a 70 that featured a spectacular eagle three at the 15th.
Bidding to win his first European Tour title since 2005, the Scot fired a trademark driver from the fairway that finished just 13 feet away.
Monty said: "It's all to play for at the weekend. The eagle on the 15th helped. I'm in touch and moved up from six to third, so that's good."
Ernie Els is just seven behind after a second successive 71 but world No 8 Retief Goosen only made the cut by a shot after a disappointing 74.
Murphy looked certain to cruise into the weekend after three birdies in his first six holes.
But four dropped shots in the next five put him in trouble before he mixed three birdies with two bogeys coming home.
Damien McGrane fell back to one under par after a 73 and was joined in a share of 23rd place by Graeme McDowell who dropped just one shot in a fine 70.
Peter Lawrie also made the cut with nothing to spare after a a 71 left him on two over par.