Paul McGinley made his first cut for five months when he he added a 69 to his opening 70 in the Avantha Masters in New Delhi.
The 45-year old Dubliner finished the day tied for 16th place on five under par, just five strokes behind leader Peter Whiteford of Scotland.
Plagued by injury problems for the past six years, especially in his knees, the three-time Ryder Cup winner finished 28th in last October’s Madrid Masters but failed to go the distance in the five events he has played since then.
After missing the cut in Portugal, he was forced to withdraw from the Andalucia Masters with a wrist injury but recovered in time to head out out Asia for his last two events of the year. However, he missed the cut in the Barclays Singapore Open before withdrawing from the Iskandar Johor Open with a right knee problem.
Following treatment over the winter, the Dubliner was advised by his doctor to ease his way back to fitness by playing a reduced schedule. And having missed the cut on his 2012 debut in Qatar two weeks ago, he will have been pleased with his strong start at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
Starting on the back nine, he birdied the 10th and 17th before rolling home an eagle putt at the 18th to move into the top-five on six under par.
But while the world No 501 lost momentum on his homeward nine with bogeys at the second and fifth, a birdie two at the 171 yard eighth gave him just his second sub-70 round since last September and a chance to contend for the title on a course that suits his straight-hitting style.
Gareth Maybin is tied for 30th place on three under after coming back from two early bogeys. The Ballyclare man was two over for the tournament and outside the cut line but stormed up the leaderboard when he birdied four holes in a five-hole spell from the sixth.
After a bogey at the 11th, he then birdied the 12th and 15th following an encouraging display off the tee with his new TaylorMade driver.
Whiteford boosted his chances of a maiden European Tour win when he added a 68 to his opening 66 to lead by two shots from from Thailand’s Prom Meesawat on 10 under par.
John Daly officially withdrew for the fourth time in his European Tour career after injuring his elbow en route to an opening 79.