Stephen Scahill, from New Zealand, carded a wind-defying 69 to lead at the halfway stage of the First Cuba Grand Final. The 30-year-old Kiwi is on 8-under-par 136, a shot ahead of Austria's Markus Brier, who returned 70, and two clear of Gustavo Rojas of Argentina and Spaniard Jose Manuel Lara, who both went round in 71.
Scahill is currently 16th on the rankings, a place outside those who earn their tour cards on Sunday. But if he can maintain this form he will climb into the top 15 and return to the main tour he left in 1997.
On a second day of high winds and difficult greens, just 13 players beat par, the best being a 67 from Patrik Gottfridsson of Sweden, which hoisted him to 1-under-par 143.
It was also a good day for British players, four of whom beat par. Matthew Blackey, from Hampshire, added a 71 to his opening 69 for 140, opening with four successive birdies. On the same score is Ireland's David Higgins, who carded a second successive 70. Both players know that only victory this week will give them a card for next year.
Luton-based Ian Poulter went round in 69 for a level-par 144 and joint 14th place, but it was another difficult day for Iain Pyman, who arrived in Cuba looking to win to overtake Carl Suneson at the top of the rankings.
But after opening with a 76, he added a 77 for 153, which leaves him near the back of the field, 17 shots behind Scahill, and with victory out of the question.