Moriarty rides his luck

Colm Moriarty took advantage of the luck of the draw and some moral support from the home crowd to move into contention for the €150,000 Challenge of Ireland at Glasson Golf Hotel and Country Club.

The touring professional for the host club avoided the morning rain storms but still showed his class when he battled west winds gusting up to 30 mph to card four birdies in a two-under par 70 that left him just a shot behind leader Richie Ramsay of Scotland on seven-under par.

Tied for second place with England Richard Bland, Moriarty (28) knows that a win worth €24,000 would send him scorching up the Challenge Tour rankings and within touching distance of the top-20 money winners who will earn full tour cards at the end of the season.

But he is determined to take things one step at a time and build on his excellent form over the first two days on a course that he knows like the back of his hand.

He said: “I am not looking beyond the first tee shot tomorrow. I have been saying all along that it is just another tournament. It is on my home course which is probably a bit of an advantage here or there but you still have to put the ball in the hole.

"It was a tough day and I know when it is a tough day round here. I didn't play brilliantly but I holed out well, hung in there well and finished nicely.

“I made two very good birdies on the 11 and 12, which were playing tough. Six-iron into six feet on 11 and a chippy seven iron into six feet on 12. They were two good shots and they turned the round around for me I suppose.

"There were a fair few watching me and when you are doing well, they come out of the woodwork. It was a good and I am looking forward to the weekend now."

Overnight leader Michael McDermott lost his swing in the wind and followed his opening 64 with a wind-blown 75 but it still just three strokes off the pace in a share of fourth place on five under.

Waterville’s David Higgins (35) got the worst of the conditions for the second day running but survived morning rainstorms to shoot a 74 that left him tied for seventh with Lurgan’s Gareth Shaw (71) on four under par.