Paul Dunne was wobbling a little and teetering on the cut mark with two holes to go. But the 23-year old Greystones man showed once more than he is a very special talent when he finished birdie-eagle to move to the fringes of contention for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
After carding a hugely impressive 69 on the tough South Course on Thursday, the Irish rookie had a chance to go low on easier North Course on Friday but instead struggled to get anything going despite opening with a birdie four.
Erratic off the tee, he had to rely on his putter to save him at times and while it came to the rescue at the third and fourth, he bogeyed the fifth to turn in level and then dropped further shots after wayward irons at the 10th and par-three 12th.
Two over for the day and just one under for the tournament with six holes still to play, he could not afford to drop another shot if he wanted to make the weekend.
But the former UAB star is made of stern stuff and after grinding for pars at the next three holes, he relieved all the pressure with a timely birdie two at the 171-yard 17th and followed it with an eagle three at the 516-yard 18th.
It all added up to a one under 71 as, in the space of 20 minutes, he went from tied 57th to tied 18th.
At four under, he's just five strokes behind clubhouse leaders Gary Woodland (67/South) and KJ Choi (67/North), who led by one on nine under from Dustin Johnson, who had a 66 on the North Course.
As Dunne was no doubt smiling his way to the range, superstars Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Paul Casey and Justin Rose were left to reflect on the shots that got away as they missed the halfway cut.
As for Shane Lowry, the popular Offaly man posted a one under 71 on the South Course to make the weekend with a shot to spare on two under and dream of a big finish with bad weather forecast for Sunday.
Forced to birdie three of his last five holes for a 71 on the North on Thursday, Lowry had mixed feelings about carding a four-birdie 71 last night, even if it left him within touching distance of the top places.
"I got off to a nice start today and was going along nicely at three under for the tournament (after 10 holes) when I got a couple of bad lies in the rough on my back nine, which can happen out here," said Lowry, who had bogeyed the par-five 13th after tangling with the rough but holed good putts at the 14th (22ft), 16th (12ft) and first (18ft) to undo the damage before handing back two shots at the fourth and seventh.
"I made birdie on eight and I was disappointed not to birdie nine from where I was," added Lowry, who might have missed the cut in an earlier life.
"But I am pretty happy where I am standing. If I can shoot a decent one tomorrow — I believe the weather is going to be pretty bad on Sunday — and get myself within a shout, you never know.
"I wouldn't mind (bad weather on Sunday). If I can get to within three or four of the lead come Sunday you never know what could happen."
Keen to keep his card on both sides of the pond and contend for a Ryder Cup place, Lowry enjoyed the recent Eurasia Cup and admitted he's keen to make Darren Clarke's team.
"Everything about the week was special and to experience that whetted my appetite so I'll try to play as well as I an between now and September," he said.