Niall Kearney’s African adventure ended disappointingly as the Dubliner added a 77 to his opening 74 to comfortably miss the cut in the Challenge Tour’s Kenya Open in which home favourite Ali Kimani is the surprise half-way leader.

Kearney began the day at three over par knowing that a good start was essential if he was to make the weekend. A disappointing front nine of 40 included bogeys at the second, fifth and ninth as well as an ugly double bogey at the par-five seventh.

Three further bogeys followed before a final-hole birdie at least gave the week a tidy finish, but it all added up to a 36-hole total of 151 (+9) and left the twenty-two year old eight shots from making the half-way cut.

Enjoying slightly better fortunes, Kimani fired a six under par round of 65 to lead by two from a chasing pack that includes Englishmen Robert Dinwiddie and Oliver Fisher.

The Kenyan said: “This is definitely the best day of my career. I got off to a great start, and I just felt good out on the course.

“I didn’t feel nervous, even though there were lots of people watching me. I just stuck to my gameplan, and hopefully I can do the same at the weekend.”

Overnight leader Jake Roos tumbled from first place down to a tie for 18th with a round of 75, ten shots worse than his opening effort of 65.

Should Kimani go on to lift the title on Sunday he would be the first home winner of the Kenya Open since it made its Challenge Tour debut back in 1991.