Shane Lowry produced some of his best golf of the season with a seven-under-par round of 64 at the Portugal Masters.

The Offaly man, who won this tournament in 2012, is tied for sixth on nine-under, three behind half-way leader Nino Bertasio of Italy.

Reigning champion Padraig Harrington also had a fine day, shooting 67 at the Dom Pedro Victoria course, and is one shot further back.

Lowry, who carded a two-under-par 69 yesterday, began on the back nine and picked up three birdies by the sixth hole.

The 30-year-old added another three shots to his card on the 11th, 13th and 14th to shoot 35 places up the leaderboard.

Lowry’s only bogey came on the seventh, his 16th hole, when he took five on the par four. However, that was quickly cancelled out with a birdie on the next hole, and followed up with a 10-foot putt for birdie on his 18th, leaving him to sign for a round of 64, one of only three on the day.

"I'm very happy," Lowry, who has slipped to 86th in the world rankings, told Sky Sports. "I felt quite rusty out there yesterday (Thursday) after four weeks off.

"I played my way into the round and then hit some shots when I finished and really hit it well so was looking forward to getting out there and did the business.

"I think score-wise 64 is my best round of the year. It's a good time to start playing well, I've got a lot to play for the rest of the year.

"This was my first win as a professional so it was very exciting at the time. I can't believe it was five years ago."

Harrington began with three pars but quickly hit his stride, hitting birdies on the fourth, fifth and eighth holes before dropping his only shot of the day on the par-four ninth.

Further birdies on 12 and 13 kept him firmly in contention at the top of the leaderboard.

Overnight co-leader George Coetzee could only manage a two-under-par 69 in his second round and is level with Lowry.

Bertasio's second consecutive 65 gave him a total of 12 under and a one-shot lead over Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard (also 65) and Scot Marc Warren (64).

Northern Ireland's Chris Selfridge missed the cut after following up his opening 74 with a 76.

More to follow...