Andrew Johnston moved two shots clear at the Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts as an enthralling battle with English compatriot Jason Barnes moved past the turn.
The 25 year old held the overnight lead at Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club after a six under par second round of 65 moved him to 11 under par for the tournament, one shot clear of Barnes.
While that one shot gap was still intact at the turn on ‘moving day’ in Aviemore, it was not straight forward for Johnston as the lead exchanged hand a number of times on the front nine.
The two friends were playing together in the final two-ball and Barnes came flying out of the blocks with three birdies in the opening four holes moving him one clear briefly, before Johnston carded a second birdie of the day at the fifth to level things up again.
While Barnes moved clear once again with a birdie at the par four seventh, he dropped two shots in the next two holes to fall a shot behind Johnston as they reached the turn. Johnston then birdied the tenth hole to extend the lead to two.
Jamie Elson was making the most significant charge towards the top of the leaderboard after the Englishman carded an eagle two at the short par four ninth to move to 11 under, where he remained as he reached the 13th tee.