Ireland's Rory McIlroy ánd Scotland's Lloyd Saltman look set for a head-to-head battle for the Lytham Trophy over the final 36-holes on Sunday.
Walker Cup player Saltman opened up a three-stroke lead over the Holywood star at the halfway stage at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
Bidding for a hat-trick of strokeplay victories, Saltman added a four-under-par 67 to his opening 65 to move to 10 under par and extend his overnight lead over McIlroy by a shot.
McIlroy, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Friday last, remained in second place after a three-under-par 68 left him on seven under.
England's Gary Wolstenholme (70) and Ben Parker (69) are seven shots behind Saltman in third place on three under.
It was a disappointing day for the rest of the Irish challengers as they failed to qualify for the last two rounds.
Esker Hills' Shane Lowry (72) and County Louth's Simon Ward (76) missed out by a single stroke as the cut fell at four-over-par 146.
Royal Dublin's Niall Kearney carded a 75 to finish two shots outside the mark on six over par.
132 Lloyd Saltman 65 67
135 Rory McIlroy 67 68
139 Ben Parker 70 69, Gary Wolstenholme 69 70
140 Nigel Edwards 69 71, Paul Waring 69 71
141 Kajetan Kromer 72 69,
142 Luke Goddard 73 69 , Alexandre Kaleka 72 70, Jamie Abbott 70 72, Branden Grace 69 73.
(Missed the cut)
147 Shane Lowry 75 72, Simon Ward 71 76
148 Niall Kearney 73 75.