Markus Brier took the lead at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship after a second round 70 at St Andrews took him to eight under par on a day when freezing cold conditions meant layers were the clothing of choice.
The Austrian’s two under par effort followed a 66 at Kingsbarns yesterday and gives him a one shot lead in the clubhouse.
Brier - looking for a first win on The European Tour since the 2007 Volvo China Open - leads by a shot from four players.
Brier bogeyed the second but back to back birdies at the sixth and the seventh showed he had not lost the impressive form he showed yesterday.
He dropped a shot at the tenth but pulled it straight back with a two at the 174 yard 11th.
Brier said: “I didn't hit it too much off line. I kept it in the fairway and didn't struggle, no fairway bunkers or anything today, that was good.
“The long putts were good. I had quite a good feeling on the greens for the long putts, and I just stayed out of trouble, just go for the middle of the green. My driver was working nicely, I hit it low and got it running.
A birdie at the par four last completed a round of 70 and gives him a narrow advantage over Rory McIlroy, Søren Hansen, Martin Kaymer, and Robert Karlsson.
McIlroy ended the day seven under par after an impressive three under round at Carnoustie.
He said: “It was very windy and it’s not an easy wind as it is going across the course. It was very difficult out there but I struck the ball well and gave myself chances and that’s what you need to do.”
McIlroy - playing with football legend Sir Bobby Charlton - reached the turn in 36 with a solitary birdie and a bogey.
But three birdies in a row from the tenth, including one at the par five 12th, took him to within one shot of the lead.
The Northern Irishman picked up another shot at 17 to go level with Kaymer but he dropped a shot at the last to close the day with a 69.
Kaymer reached nine under par at one stage during his round at St Andrews, having blazed round Kingsbarns in 65 yesterday.
But three bogeys in five holes, including a pair at the par four 16th and 17th saw him relinquish his lead before a birdie at the last took him back to seven under.
Hansen - who held a share of the lead overnight after a 64 yesterday - was set back by consecutive bogeys at the fifth and the sixth.
He pulled a shot back at the par four 12th only to record a five at the par four 16th.
But he finished with a birdie at the short 18th to close with a one over 73.
“It was cold and to be honest I wasn't dressed for it,” the Dane admitted, “I had same clothes as yesterday and I was a bit cold yesterday but today it was a bit bad.”
Karlsson, also playing St Andrews, recorded a two under par round.
The Swede is looking to overhaul Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood in the race for The Order of Merit and enhanced his chances with birdies at the first and second.
A dropped shot at the par three eighth was eradicated with a birdie at the ninth.
In the team event running concurrently, English professional Graeme Storm and his amateur partner, Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating took the lead on 16 under par 128, one shot clear of the English pairing of professional David Howell and former cricketing legend Sir Ian Botham.