Michael Hoey maintained his strong challenge at the Joburg Open in South Africa on Friday.

After his opening seven-under 64, Hoey didn't drop a shot in his 68 on Friday which left him only a shot behind leader Scotland's David Drysdale.

The former British Amateur champion was one of the players affected by an almost two hour rain delay during the early afternoon.

“It was just perfect at the end there,” reflected the Ballymoney born golfer on the break. “There was no wind, which was probably an advantage because it was quite hot earlier on. The weather was perfect."

Drysdale added a 66 to his opening 65 and was a shot ahead of South Africa's Oliver Bekker (65) and Ulsterman Hoey.

Noel Fox missed the cut by four shots on two over par after a second successive 72.

Michael McGeady also missed out at three over after a 74 while Jonathan Caldwell could only manage a 75 for a five over total.

Hoey parred his opening 11 holes on Friday before a birdie three at the 12th started a run of three gains in four holes.

The Belfast golfer found trouble off the tee at the last but a superb up and down from 80 yards meant that he completed his card without any dropped shots.

South African Andrew McLardy and England's Danny Willett are in a share of fourth place on nine under.

Thunder and lightning forced the tournament organisers to halt play at just before two o'clock local time although the action later resumed.

Caldwell needed a sub-70 round after his opening one-over-par 72 to have any chance of making the cut.

The Clandeboye player did birdie the second but a double-bogey on the fourth was then followed by further dropped shots on the sixth and seventh to effectively end his chances of playing at the weekend.

He did birdie the ninth to go out in 38 but started his back nine with successive bogeys.

Derryman McGeady had shot an opening level-par 71 but he didn't manage a birdie on Friday in a round which included three bogeys.

Noel Fox also missed the cut as he hit a second successive 72 for two over.