Four birdies in a row helped Shane Lowry play his way back up the leaderboard at the Saudi International as the 2019 Open champion moved to three under par.

The Offaly native will have to finish one hole of his second round on Saturday as play was suspended shortly after he finished his 17th hole due to bad light.

By that stage, Lowry had an eventful round, beginning with a bogey, before hitting a birdie streak on the fourth hole, which led to four shots gained before teeing off on the eighth. 

Two more bogeys were cancelled out by another couple of birdies on the back nine as Lowry moved 36 places up the leaderboard into a share of 36th place.

Lowry will start on Saturday seven shots behind overnight leaders Ryan Fox, who added a second consecutive five-under 65 to get to 10 under, and Stephen Gallacher, who was two under for his second round after 12 holes.

Cormac Sharvin looks set to make the cut on one under par after shooting 69 on Friday, while Graeme McDowell faces an anxious wait to see if his level-par position following consecutive 70s is enough to see him through to the weekend.

McDowell is is currently sitting right on the cut mark, however, it may change by the time the second round is completed on Saturday.

Paul Dunne looks set to miss the cut, however, as the Greystones man is six over par with eight holes remaining of his second round.

Graeme McDowell is right on the cut mark with the second round yet to be completed

New Zealand's Fox and Scotland's Gallacher sit two clear of England's Andy Sullivan and Austria's Bernd Wiesberger safely in the clubhouse on eight under.

World number one and 2019 winner Dustin Johnson was also eight under with four holes remaining, alongside Sweden's Marcus Kinhult, who has two to play.

Tommy Fleetwood is a shot further back after exercising his option to complete the 18th after play was suspended, only to find the water with his second shot and card his only bogey of the day.

"I'm very happy," Fox said after a round containing six birdies and a solitary bogey on the difficult ninth, his final hole of the day.

"It's been a really solid couple days of ball striking and saw a few putts go in both days, which was nice. To be sitting near the top of this leaderboard is always a good thing. It's a pretty strong field this week.

"I think we got very, very lucky (with the draw). No wind on Thursday morning and the showers went through with the thunderstorms. When we came back out it was pretty much perfect.

"You don't often get two days of no wind around here and it was nice to take advantage of that. You get the bad side of the draw enough times, it's nice to get the good side every now and again."

Fox will return to New Zealand after the final leg of the European Tour's "Desert Swing" and faces 14 days of quarantine when he gets home.

The 34-year-old had to book a slot before he left and opted for 9 February, knowing that if he missed that date the next available was sometime in May.

Fox therefore thought about skipping the event in Saudi Arabia, but with a Jeddah-to-Dubai flight pushed back on Sunday evening he can make his connection to Auckland - via Kuala Lumpur - and make it home on the ninth.

Asked about being in contention for a second European Tour win, Fox added: "It is (where you want to be), as long as I can make my flight on Sunday to make sure I get back into New Zealand.

"I can just control what I can control. If I go out and play well, try to set the target and make them chase me. I don't know how many of the top 50 in the world are here this week, but it's a lot.

"And I certainly hope to be there one day. If I can play well this week, then it's a step forward in that direction. If not, it's just good experience and a nice finish to my desert swing because I don't really know when I'm going to come back out here again."

England's David Horsey, who equalled the course record with an opening 61, was two over par for 12 holes of his second round to fall three off the pace.

Round 2 will re-start at 07.30 (local time) on Saturday morning.