Holland’s Wil Besseling holds the clubhouse lead as delays carried through to the second day of the Tayto Northern Ireland Open in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.
Besseling, a former winner on the European Challenge Tour, carded a second round 65 to shoot to the top of the leaderboard with a total of nine under par.
The 30 year old opened his round with four birdies in the first five holes and shot an eagle on the par four second hole, before finishing the day with a birdie on the ninth.
As a result of Thursday’s six-hour delay due to weather, Besseling was forced to complete his first round on Friday morning and then started his second round just 30 minutes after finishing his first.
“It was a long, exhausting day,” said Besseling. “I played 30 holes today. It was a long day, but I’m happy to be on top of the leaderboard for now.
“For my eagle, I hit my drive to five metres and then holed the putt. My putting was very good today and that helped me reach this score; I kept the ball in play and holed a few good putts.
“The course is very good, the greens are firming up now and it’s rolling nicely. The course is in great condition.
“We had to get up early this morning and finish the first round. Half an hour later we started the second. That’s the way it goes and everybody knows that’s the way it is.
“It’s nice to have played well and get to the top of the leaderboard, but the guys who are out there will make some birdies, so we’ll see what happens.”
After carding a three under par second round, New Zealander Ryan Fox sits a shot back on eight under par.
The Kiwi hit form either side of the turn as he shot six consecutive birdies.
“It was nice to get it going,” said Fox. “I played really nicely bar my first tee shot and didn’t have anything going.
“But I hit a couple of shots close and made some putts. I had a few chances in that middle stretch. I made a nice putt on the first hole for birdie and that kick-started the round.
“My round was good through the middle, but I had a frustrating finish. I let a couple of chances slip on the last four holes, but the rest of the day was fantastic.
“I played 32 holes today, and I think we waited on every shot as well; that made it a really long day, but I’m happy to be in the mix at the weekend.”
Englishman Paul Maddy carded a second round 67, to join Fox in second place. Compatriot Ben Stow is also eight under par through 12 holes.
“I like it round here,” said Maddy. “I’ve played here a few times on the EuroPro Tour and on the Challenge Tour. It’s a nice venue.
“It’s suits my eye and if I can continue the form I’ve shown over the first two rounds, you never know.”
Defending champion Clément Sordet, who finished his first round on level par, carded a superb seven under par 64 for the best round of the tournament so far, giving the Frenchman a share of fifth place alongside Germany’s Dominic Foos and South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli, who was one under through 12 holes when play was halted due to darkness.
Seven players are a shot further back on six under par, including England’s Max Orrin and France’s Adrien Perrier.
A total of 51 players are still to finish their second rounds. After the cut has been made, Saturday’s third round will be played from two tees.