Simon Thornton shot a best-of-the-day 66 from Simon Thornton to catapult Ireland to the top of the leaderboard at halfway in the International Team Championship at Costa Navarino in Greece.
Trailing overnight leaders Scotland by five shots, his five under par round helped Ireland move two shots clear of Scotland on six-under with two rounds remaining in the annual PGAs of Europe event
Thornton, who now represents Tulfarris, bagged six birdies along with one bogey over the Dunes Course with Waterville Links' David Higgins signing for a one-under-par 70 and Delgany's Mark Staunton a two-over 73.
“We're in a good spot but it's only a two-shot lead and we've still two rounds to go,” said Newcastle, Co. Down based Thornton.
“I struggled for most of the day off the tee but I managed to keep it in play, hit some nice iron shots and gave myself a lot of birdie chances. I putted pretty well but I could and maybe should have finished the day with a lower score."
The best two individual scores each day from the team of three count towards the overall team score each day. The 72-hole tournament will finish on Saturday.
Ireland last enjoyed success in the ITC back in 2008 when John Kelly, Robert Giles and Eamonn Brady won in Spain.
2017 International Team Championship, Costa Navarino, Greece (Par 71)
- 1 Ireland -7
- 2 Scotland -5
- T3 Holland -3
- T3 Italy -3
- 5 Finland -1