Robert Rock moved flawlessly to the head of affairs in the ASI Scottish Open as three of Irish golf's four-pronged challenge missed the four-under cut.
Paul Dunne can now to join former Open champions Phil Mickelson, Darren Clarke and Pádraig Harrington on an early reconnaissance mission to Carnoustie to prepare for The Open after a rash of low scoring saw him miss out by a shot.
The Greystones star (25) looked to have done enough to squeeze in two more rounds at Gullane when he birdied the par-three 17th.
A level par 70 left him tied for 51st as he headed for lunch but ended up missing the cut by the minimum as the wind dropped and the field took advantage.
Morning starter Rock (41) added a seven-under 63 to his opening 64, going bogey-free for the second day running to lead by two strokes on 13-under par from Tyrrell Hatton and Swede Jens Dantorp with Eddie Pepperell and Rickie Fowler a shot further back.
Graeme McDowell is eight strokes behind, tied for 40th on five-under after a 66.
But the Portrush man can still take advantage of a morning tee-time to make a big move up the leaderboard and challenge for one of three exemptions for Carnoustie.
Rock said: "Some guys tomorrow morning could get the course in perfect order and shoot seven or eight-under par like they have done in previous weeks and later on you could get rain and wind and level par is good then."
Mickelson missed the cut by three shots after shooting a 69 alongside a struggling Harrington, who finished near the back on the field on four-over after a 71, as Clarke faded after a hot start and shot 69 to finish on level par.
"I'll head over to Carnoustie and try to make it a positive and have a few extra rounds over there," Mickelson said.
"I had a pretty good idea of how it's going to play when I spent time there on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I expect it to be very firm and fast."
McDowell could be inspired by Japan's Hideto Tanihara, who needed two closing birdies for the European Tour's first 59 but had to settle for a nine-under-par, course record 61 that catapulted him from 125th to 15th on seven-under.
Power six back in John Deere
Qualifying for The Open will be an uphill task for Seamus Power, who shot a second successive 68 to trail clubhouse leaders David Hearn of Canada, Steve Wheatcroft and Johnson Wagner by six strokes at the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic where the leading finisher in the top five will earn his spot at Carnoustie.
Hearn fired eight birdies in a seven-under 64 at TPC Deer run to lead by a shot in the clubhouse on 12-under from Francesco Molinari, who shot 66 as he bids for his third win in five starts worldwide, before being joined by Wheatcroft (68) and Wagner (66).
But the West Waterford man could be 10 or more adrift later today after Michael Kim got to 16-under with one hole to play with two holes of his second round to complete when play was suspended due to inclement weather.
McGee, Hoey and Moynihan going well in Sardinia
On the Challenge Tour, Ruaidhri McGee, Michael Hoey and Gavin Moynihan are chasing Sweden's Sebastian Soderberg in the Italian Challenge in Sardinia.
Soderberg (27) fired a four-under 67 to lead by two strokes from England's Jack Senior and compatriot Niclas Lemke on 11-under par at Is Molas Resort.
But the surviving Irish trio all shot three-under 68s with McGee just four shots behind in joint fifth, one stroke better than Hoey and Moynihan, who are tied for ninth on six-under.
Ballymena's Dermot McElroy missed the two-under par cut by a shot after 71 with Paul McBride (72) on one-over, Gary Hurley (74) and Cormac Sharvin (73) two-over, and Stephen Grant (73) five-over all missing out.
Dodd on fire in Germany
On the Staysure Tour, Paul McGinley is six shots behind Welshman Stephen Dodd, who opened with a course record of 64 to take a four-shot lead in the WINSTONgolf Senior Open in Germany.
As McGinley fired a two-under 70 to share seventh on the inland links-style venue in Vorbeck, former Irish Open and European Open winner Dodd (51) made nine birdies in an eight-under round to lead comfortably from England’s Paul Eales, South African James Kingston, Spaniard José Manuel Carriles and Australian Peter Fowler.
Philip Walton was 43rd after three-over 74 with Ronan Rafferty and Brendan McGovern tied 48th after 76s, Des Smyth tied 51st after a 77 and Eamonn Darcy joint 56th after a 78.
Stephanie and Leona cut it in Indiana
On the Symetra Tour, Stephanie Meadow shot a 71 to lie six shots behind leader Stephanie Kono on two-under par in the Donald Ross Championship at French Lick Resort in Indiana.
Leona Maguire posted a 70 to make the one-over cut on the mark but twin sister Lisa added an 80 to her opening 79 to miss out.