Tournament host Michael Hoey has missed the cut as Daan Huizing took a three-shot half-way lead at the Northern Ireland Open Challenge presented by Clannah and XJET.
Five-time European Tour winner, Hoey shot a disappointing five-over par 76 at the Galgorm Castle venue to post four over, missing the cut by four shots.
Dutchman Huizing shot a second-consecutive impressive round as he posted a five-under-par 66 to go with his opening 65 to lead on 11 under.
Sweden’s Jens Dantorp and Englishman Ross McGowan share second place on eight under, while Bernd Ritthammer, Marcus Armitage, James Ruth and Andrew McArthur are one shot further back on seven under.
Neil O’Briain, Jonathan Caldwell, Michael McGeady and amateur Dermot McElroy are best of the Irish on five under, six shots off the lead, while Ruaidhri McGee, Gareth Shaw and Niall Kearney are three shots further back. Mark Murphy also made the cut on one under par.
Former Ryder Cup player Oliver Fisher is six under par at the half-way stage.
Massively disappointed to be missing the cutt at the NI Open @GalgormCastle this weekend. Great well run event! Hope to be back next year!— Michael Hoey (@MikeHoeyNI) August 30, 2013
“The conditions were quite tough but I actually enjoy playing with a breeze like that because it helps me to focus and allows you to shape the ball and try to use the wind to your advantage in some ways,” said Huizing.
“I am swinging the club well and playing with confidence at the moment so hopefully I can keep that going over the weekend and try to get my first win on the Challenge Tour.”
Top amateur McElroy said: “The last two events I played with Daan he won them so I am not surprised to see his name up there. He won the Lytham Trophy and the St Andrews Links Trophy by miles and is jut s a quality player.
“I played okay today – I hit the ball off the tee a lot better but I haven’t played as well as I usually can around here. Maybe I am just a little burnt out as I have played a lot of golf this summer, but hopefully I can make a move over the weekend.”
Speaking after his second round 76, Hoey explained his decision to call a penalty on himself. He said: “The ball moved a little bit in this thick clump of rough.
“I hadn’t grounded my club so I didn’t think it was a penalty but then I spoke to my partners and they were saying even if you didn’t ground the club it might still be a penalty.
"I wasn’t too comfortable with that so I spoke to one of the referees a few holes later and he basically said it was my call and I was 70 per cent sure that I had to call the penalty on myself.
"It’s a disappointing way to end really but I gave it everything I could today and just couldn’t do enough to make the cut.”