By Brian Keogh
Noel Fox hit just his third sub par round of the season to put himself in the hunt at the POSTBANK Challenge presented by Marcel Siem.
The former Walker Cup star, 33, opened with a three under par 68 to share 16th place and lead the Irish challenge in Dusseldorf.
The Portmarnock man birdied the 18th to trail leader Andrew McArthur of Scotland by four shots with Michael Hoey, Michael McGeady and Gareth Maybin the next best Irish players on level par.
Justin Kehoe and Mark Murphy signed for a pair of one over par 72s, with Kerryman Danny Sugrue a shot further back on two over 73.
Meanwhile in the European Amateur Championship in Berlin, Baltray's Simon Ward hit a two under par 70 to lead the Irish contingent at halfway.
The Co Louth man is tied for 24th on one over par - 11 shots behind leaders Wallace Booth, Ben Evans and Benjamin Herbert.
Booth hit a nine under par 63 with Richard Kilpatrick (72) tied for 36th on two over.
But Stephen Grant (75), Paul Cutler (74), Shane Lowry (77), Peter O'Keeffe (79) and Niall Kerney (80) are in danger of missing the 54 hole cut for the top 70 and ties.