Murphy and Higgins in the mix

By Brian Keogh

Kilkenny kingpin Gary Murphy got himself in the mix with a superb 72.

And the former Adare Manor course record holder admitted that it was "sadistic fun" as he carded four birdies and four bogeys.

Straight-hitting Murphy is just five shots behind leader Padraig Harrington on two over par.

He said: "I played really well today. I kept it in play and the only two holes where I got stuck were the 13th and 14th, where missed fairways were dropped shots.

"It was a pity I didn't score better yesterday, otherwise I would be right up there.

"But I am in the mix and in a sadistic sort of way I quite enjoyed it. It was a day for shot-making and holing a couple of putts rather than just trying to drive the ball as far as you can."

Waterville's David Higgins is one shot better on one over after a brilliant 70.

But he is not looking too far ahead and insisted: "I will be taking it one shot at a time."