Chris Selfridge and Gavin Moynihan had two of the low rounds of the day but West Waterford's Gary Hurley will feel like he shot in the low 60s after coming back from four over after 10 holes to grab a share of the halfway lead in the European Amateur Championship in Scotland.
The Munster player led after a bogey free 66 on day one. But when he followed a one-over par front nine with a double-bogey at the 10th and a bogey at the 11th, he looked likley to trail on a bright but breezy day on the Duke's Course in St Andrews.
The Paddy Harrington Scholarship student responded brilliantly, however, picking up birdies at the 12th, 15th and 18th for a 72 that left him tied for the lead with Italy's Renato Paratore (69-69), Finland's Lauri Ruuska (67-71), and Brabazon Tropy winner Ben Stow (67-71) on four under par.
Ballymena's Dermot McElroy also remained in contention with one birdie and one bogey in a 71 leaving him tied for seventh, three shots off the pace on one under.
University of Toledo and Moyola Park star Selfridge had six birdies and two bogeys in a 67 — the second best score of the day after Jao Carlotas's 64 — to move up to joint ninth on level par.
Two 72s for Naas' Jack Hume were good enough for tied 22nd on two over while The Island's Gavin Moynihan bounced back strongly from his opening 77 with six-birdie 68 leaving him tied 28th on three over.
The top 60 and ties after Friday's third round will make the cut, leaving five Irish players on the brink and another three facing an uphill task to stick around for Saturday's final round.
European Amateur Championship, Duke's Course, St Andrews (Par 71)
- T1 HURLEY, Gary WestWaterford/NUIM -4 66 72 138
- T7 MCELROY, Dermot Ballymena -1 70 71 141
- T9 SELFRIDGE, Chris Moyola Park Par 75 67 142
- T22 HUME, Jack Naas +2 72 72 144
- T28 MOYNIHAN, Gavin The Island +3 77 68 145
- T47 BRIDGES, Richard Stackstown Golf Club +5 72 75 147
- T51 MCNAMARA, Rory +6 77 71 148
- T58 DAWSON, Robin Faithlegg +7 74 75 149
- T67 SHARVIN, Cormac Ardglass Golf Club +8 73 77 150
- T76 MCBRIDE, Paul The Island +9 80 71 151
- T99 LENEHAN, Geoff Portmarnock Golf Club +11 79 74 153
- T109 GREHAN, Stuart Tullamore GC +12 82 72 154
- T121 DUNNE, Paul Greystones +14 76 80 156