Gary Murphy at the Iberdrola Open in Mallorca in May. Picture Fran Caffrey/www.golffile.ieGary Murphy found some form ahead of next week’s Irish Open when he went from missing the cut to the fringes of contention at the English Challenge.

The 38 year old shot a five under par 67 at the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa to move to three under for the tournament – six shots off the lead.

Jamie Moul, a former Walker Cup team mate of Rory McIlroy and World Amateur Number One, is the man in command of a nine under par lead heading into the weekend.

Murphy looked likely to be heading home to Drogheda when he reached the turn in level par for the day – two over for the tournament – but a sparkling back nine of 31 including a birdie-birdie finish saw him move into position to stake a claim for the €25,600 first prize.

The only other Irishman to make the cut, Colm Moriarty, who posted a second consecutive one under 71, is also by no means out of the tournament at two under. Indeed, anyone making the two under cut can still catch Moul, with 64 players packing a truly bunched leaderboard, all within seven shots of one another.

While Murphy and Moriarty enjoyed a satisfying day’s work in Essex, there was disappointment for Niall Kearny (level par), Gareth Shaw (two over), Simon Thornton (three over), Tim Rice (four over), Jonathan Caldwell (seven over) and Stephen Hackett (12 over) who all missed the halfway cut.