Michael Hoey is relishing his stress-free start to the European Tour Qualifying School Finals in Spain. Live scoring
The six-round battle to finish in the top-30 and ties is widely regarded as one of the toughest weeks in golf.
But after adding a three-under 69 to his opening 68, Hoey is delighted to be tied for sixth place with compatriot Jonny Caldwell on six-under par.
Referring it his opening 79 in the finals four years ago, Hoey said: “When you get off to a good start and you start moving forward it takes a lot of the pressure off.
“If you get off to a bad start you are just playing catch up but this time I am just trying to play stress free golf and it is quite enjoyable. As long as I keep moving forward I will be quite happy.”
Playing the Green Course at PGA Golf de Catalunya near Girona, Hoey went to the turn in three-under par with the highlight a 20 footer for birdie at the par-three fifth.
And while he dropped a shot at the tough par-four 14th, he bounced straight back with a birdie at the 15th to trail leader Oskar Henningsson by just five shots.
Walker Cup star Caldwell, 24, fired a two-under par 70 on the Green Course that featured four birdies and a double bogey six.
Already assured of a Challenge Tour category, Caldwell said: “I played nicely today and it was just a case of hanging in there. That’s two rounds down but we still have four more rounds to go.
“As I said before, I have everything to gain and nothing to lose this week. It is just a question of ploughing on.”
The top 70 and ties after four rounds will play the last two rounds of the 108-hole test with the top 30 and ties earning tour cards at the end of it all.
And Derry’s Michael McGeady is poised to make it a second successive 69 moved him up into a share of 17th place on five under par.
Playing the Green Course, McGeady birdied the third, eighth and 16th before erasing a bogey at the 17th with a birdie three at the last.
Royal County Down’s Simon Thornton is just two shots outside the magical top-30 on two under par.
The Ulster-based Yorkshireman had two birdies and three bogeys in a one over par 72 on the Red Course.
Swede Henningsson, 23, carded his second 66 on the trot to head the field by three shots on 11-under par.