Seamus Power needs a hot weekend to keep his PGA Tour card after a major traffic jam developed at the top of the leaderboard in the Wyndham Championship in steamy Greensboro.
The West Waterford man needs a top-five finish at worst to make the top 125 in the standings who keep their privileges for next season and avoid a three-week battle for 25 cards at the Korn Ferry Finals.
But after opening with an impressive 64, Power’s one-under 69 left him tied 27th, six shots behind clubhouse leader Byeong Hun An on seven-under with the top 26 players on the leaderboard covered by just five shots. Scores
It will see a challenging weekend for Power, who followed a three-putt bogey at the first with back to back birdies at the third and fourth before running uo 10 frustrating pars in a row.
He missed seven footers for birdies at the fifth and seventh but while he broke his par-run with a birdie two from six feet at the 163-yard 16th, he drove into trees left at the 18th and made a costly bogey five
Power's problem is not that he’s seven behind An but the number of players bunched near the top.
An’s 65 gave him a one-shot lead over Brice Garnett on 13-under with another six players tied for third on 11-under.
Canadian Adam Svensson, who came into the week ranked 171st in the FedExCup, fired a nine-under 61 to share third place with Patton Kizzire, Sunjae Im, Josh Teater, Webb Simpson and Mackenzie Hughes with Ryan Armour, JT Poston and English Ryder Cup star Paul Casey just a shot further back on 10-under.
With three-time major winner Jordan Spieth shooting 67 to get to nine-under, taking just 49 putts for the first two days, it’s clear that a top-five finish is going to require some red-hot golf at a rain-softened Sedgefield Country Club.
Pádraig Harrington chipped in for a closing birdie alongside An but a second round 69 l left him one shots outside the four-under cut mark.
In the AIG Women's British Open, overnight leader Ashleigh Buhai extended her lead at Woburn.
The South African added a 67 to her opening 65 to lead by three shots from Japan's Hinako Shibuno in 12-under par. Scores
Meanwhile, Gavin Moynihan and Cormac Sharvin have Sweden's Rikard Karlberg in their sights at the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge.
Karlberg leads by a shot on nine-under after a 69 at Vierumäki Resort, but Moynihan is lurking just three strokes off the pace after a 70 with Sharvin one stroke further back after a 69. Scores
While Tullamore's Stuart Grehan missed the two-under cut by one stroke after a 74, Tramore native Robin Dawson chiselled out a 72 to make the weekend on the mark.
Irish golfers are also chasing in the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at London Golf Club.
Paul McGinley is just five shots behind Australia's Peter Lonard and Welshman Phillip Price at halfway after a three-under 69 left him tied ninth on six-under.
Price shot 66 and Lonard a 64 to lead by one stroke from overnight leader David McKenzie of Australia on 11-under par. Scores
But Drogheda's Des Smyth could be pleased as he came within a shot of matching his age as he made an eagle and three birdies in a mistake-free, five-under 67 that left him tied for 30th on two-under.
Mark McNulty made the one-over cut by two shots after a 72, but Brendan McGovern and Philip Walton missed out after rounds of 78 and 81 respectively.
American Craig Davis beat compatriot Gene Elliott with a birdie at the third hole of a sudden-death play-off for the Senior Amateur at North Berwick after they finished on nine-under-par. Scores
Belvoir Park's Frank O'Donoghue was 62nd on five-over after a 77.