Damien McGrane couldn’t match the fireworks of his opening 64 but was still happy to card a two under 70 that leaves him just two strokes behind leaders Thomas Björn and Carlos Del Moral in the Estoril Open de Portugal.

Bjorn and Del Moral signed for matching rounds of 65 to share a two shot lead from McGrane, Steve Webster and Robert Coles.

McGrane looked on course to set the clubhouse target for the second day running as he advanced to 11 under for the week with six to play.

But the former Volvo China Open winner came unstuck at the 434 yard fourth when his wayward approach finished on the root of a tree and forced him to play away from the flag, leading to a double bogey six before a birdie at the ninth, his last, repaired some of the damage.

He said: “It was a slow day compared to yesterday and obviously it was hard to back up yesterday’s putting performance. 

“I didn’t hole as many of the chances I created but I still played very well from tee to green and to be honest I didn’t have too many chances.

“I hit good shots from the word go and was around the flag all the time and feeling no pain. Then a three putt came on the 14th and I drove it into the side of the bunker and took double bogey after a three putt.”

Gary Murphy carded a three under par 69 to leap into a share of 28th on four under and make just his fourth cut of the season and his first cut since the Open de Andalucia at the end of March.

Darren Clarke birdied three of his last five holes for a five under par 67 to make the cut with a shot to spare.

The Ulsterman, 41, scrambled well and had just 26 putts.

However, Simon Thornton missed out by a shot on level par despite carding an eagle at his 15th hole and a birdie at the last (the ninth) for a one under 71.