O'Rourke and Lester lead the chase at Brabazon
 Conor O'Rourke. Picture:  Pat Cashman

Conor O'Rourke. Picture: Pat Cashman

Naas' Conor O'Rourke might be the leading Irishman at the Brabazon Trophy, but he's seven shots behind South Africa's Kyle McClatchie at halfway at Woodhall Spa.

Six of Ireland's 10-strong representation missed the cut at the Lincolnshire venue with Walker Cup hopefuls Robin Dawson and Colm Campbell, international Conor Purcell and panel member Kevin LeBlanc missing out.

Tramore's Dawson opened with a five-under 68 that included a hole-in-one but after a stop-start- exam period recently, he was out of sorts on Friday and posted an uncharacteristic 83 to miss the four-over par cut by one stroke.

Campbell (73-79), Conor Purcell (79-74) and Kevin Le Blanc (71-84) also missed out, leaving O'Rourke leading the Irish charge in 17th place on three-under 143.

Lester, a recent winner of the NAIA Championship in Chicago, carded a superb, bogey-free, six-under 67 in round two to move up 68 places to tied 19th on two-under alongside Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith (71-73).

 Kyle McClatchie (Serengeti) driving at the first tee during the first round of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down Golf Club (11/05/2017). Picture by  Pat Cashman

Kyle McClatchie (Serengeti) driving at the first tee during the first round of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down Golf Club (11/05/2017). Picture by Pat Cashman

Alex Gleeson (147), Colin Fairweather (148) and Tiarnan McLarnon (150) also made the cut but like O'Rourke, they have work to do to catch McClatchie.

The South African shone for two rounds in the Irish Amateur Open at Royal County Down and he's one clear on ten-under-par at halfway after rounds of 70 and 66.

Walker Cup prospects Craig Ross of Scotland (70-67) and Lytham Trophy winner Jack Singh Brar (67-70) are second on nine-under-par with Scotland's Robert MacIntyre fourth alone on eight-under.

Brabazon Trophy, Woodhall Spa (Par 73)

Detailed scores

*T17 O’ROURKE, Conor  Naas Golf Club  71 72 143
T19 LESTER, Rowan  Hermitage 77 67 144
T19 GALBRAITH, John Ross Whitehead  71 73 144
*T26 GLEESON, Alex Castle 76 71 147
T37 Ireland (a) FAIRWEATHER, Colin  Knock  73 75 148
T56 Ireland (a) MCLARNON, Tiarnan  Massereene  73 77 150
*MC Ireland (a) DAWSON, Robin  Tramore  68 83 151
*MC Ireland (a) CAMPBELL, Colm  Warrenpoint  73 79 152

MC Ireland (a) PURCELL, Conor  Portmarnock  79 74 153
*MC Ireland (a) LEBLANC, Kevin  The Island 71 84 155

* Indicates official GUI party