Colm Moriarty has another excellent chance of moving closer to the top 20 in the Challenge Tour rankings in Sweden this weekend.
The Glasson professional shot a level par 72 in the second round of The Princess by Schüco to trail leader Oliver Whiteley by just four shots at halfway.
Whiteley, 33, who only started his season a month ago after an extended break away from the game, sits one shot ahead of Swede Pelle Edberg at PGA of Sweden National in Malmö, while four players - François Calmels, Daniel Denison, Branden Grace and Niklas Lemke – are another shot back at five under.
Whiteley finished second in his first tournament of 2011, the Telenet Trophy, and is feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after a long spell away from competition.
He had two birdies and an eagle in his first nine holes, added another at the first – his tenth – but back-to-back bogeys at the sixth and seventh hampered his progress.
“I took about seven months off and not so much rediscovered my love for golf, but I needed a break from it,” said Whiteley. “It was getting very intense and I needed to start enjoying it a bit more. I’ve come out with a more relaxed attitude.
“During that seven months I did a bit of practice, learned how to putt, ate a lot, trained a bit… that was it. It was great. I’ve got to thank the people at Sheffield Hallam University for all they did for me during that time. I had a hand injury and they helped me a lot with my rehabilitation and training.
“It has renewed my enthusiasm for golf. I’m turning up to tournaments trying to enjoy them, and I’m not going to play as many. If you spend too much time around golf tournaments you can go a bit cuckoo. My aim is to keep a fresher outlook on it.
“I thought there would be some decent scores out there today, but it was very tricky out there with the wind. I played steadily and I’m hitting it well.”
The Princess is a tournament created by six-time European Tour champion Henrik Stenson, winner of the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2000, who named it after his daughter, Lisa. Stenson wanted to ensure there remained a Challenge Tour event in Sweden, giving up and coming players the chances he had.
Currently 47th in the Rankings, Moriarty opened with three under 69 and reached five under with six holes of his second round remaining.
However, the 32-year old former Walker Cup player dropped shots at the 13th and 15th to slip four shots off the pace.
Royal Dublin’s Niall Kearney added a two over 74 to his opening 75 to miss the halfway cut by four shots.
Ranked 98th on the Challenge Tour after 10 events, his best result came in April when he finished 20th in the Barclays Kenya Open.