Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick defied gusting winds and deep rough to take a two stroke lead into the last two rounds of the Alps Tour’s Open de la Mirabelle d’Or near Metz.
The 31-year old posted added a two under par 69 to his first round 66 to lead on seven under par from France’s Pierrick Peracino at Golf de La Grange aux Ormes.
Seeking his first win on the Alps Tour, Kilpatrick picked up three shots on the back nine before recovering from bogeys at the sixth and seventh with a birdie at the ninth.
The cut fell at three over par with Birr’s Stephen Grant, jaded by six weeks of golf, making it on the mark after a disappointing, one-over 72.
Ballyliffin’s Brendan McCarroll, who is fourth in the money list, missed the cut by three shots despite a level par 71.
Meanwhile on the PGA Europro Tour, Alex Belt shot a final-round 70 to win the PDC & World Snooker Open by one stroke and claim his first £10,000 winner’s cheque at Collingtree Park.
Killeen Castle’s Rick Weldon was the top Irishman, claiming a share of eighth, five strokes behind the winner on six under after a five under 67.
Jonny Caldwell (70) was 11th on five under with Mick McGeady (72) forced to settle for a share of 16th on four under.
Mark Staunton (73) and Neil O Briain (74) were joint 41st on two over.