England's Ross Fisher recorded the lowest round of his European Tour career to take a three shot lead after the second round of the 3 Irish Open at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club.
Fisher, who began the day two under par, made ten birdies and avoided dropping a shot to surge clear of the chasing pack on 12 under par and eclipse the 63 he shot en route to winning The European Open in 2008.
Italy's Francesco Molinari, who carded a five under 66, was Fisher’s nearest challenger on nine under par.
Fisher appeared on course for The European Tour's first 59, having birdied ten of the opening 14 holes, including three to eight and 11 to 14.
However, he could only par the last four to go round in a still outstanding ten under par 61.
Fisher, who won the Volvo World Match Play in Spain last November, said: “It's pretty flawless golf to be fair.
“I got off to a steady start, a couple pars on the first two, and then the putter caught fire really. I had a nice little run.
“It was obviously a shame that it came to an end on nine, but I just kept on hitting good shots and got on to a little patch on the back, as well. I had a chance on 15 from eight feet; unfortunately I pulled it.
“All I wanted to do was give myself chances coming in the last four holes, and I gave myself four good looks at birdie. Unfortunately I didn't make them so I have to be satisfied with 61.”
Molinari went out in 29, featuring six birdies, but dropped shots at 11 and 13 before picking one up at the 18th.
“I didn't realise I had shot 29 on the front nine until I was in the recording,” he said.
“It was very good. I was hitting the ball very well and putting well and everything went the right way.”
Nine players were tied for third, two shots back from Molinari, including Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Northern Irish pair Rory McIlroy and Michael Hoey.
Despite improving on yesterday’s 68, Harrington said: “I didn't play anywhere near as well as I played yesterday. I drove it superbly yesterday and drove it poorly today. I'm very happy that my short game is good.”
McIlroy endured an up and down 68, featuring six birdies and three bogeys.
“It was quite frustrating to be honest,” he said. “It seemed like every time I made a birdie, I made a bogey and it sort of halted me in my tracks.
“I'm only five back going into tomorrow. If I get off to a fast start, hopefully I can close the gap on Ross a little bit.”
Hoey, who went round in 69, said: “I’m really happy that I've been staying relaxed on the golf course, and I’m looking forward to the next two days.”
Hoey’s countryman, Darren Clarke, birdied the last to stay in contention one shot further back, alongside England’s Chris Wood, who fired 65.
Overnight leader David Howell of England endured a tough day, shooting a four over par 75 to drop right down.