Peter Uihlein and Robert Rock shared the clubhouse lead midway through the second round of The Irish Open at Carton House.
The pair came into the event on the back of very different form – Uihlein won his first European Tour event at the Madeira Islands Open last month, while Rock had missed six cuts in nine tournaments since finishing tied for seventh in Dubai.
American Uihlein, a former US Amateur Champion, had five birdies and a single bogey in his second round 68 to reach nine under par.
England’s Rock saw off Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship last year, and returned to that sort of form with four birdies and eagle
at the long fourth in his 66.
Overnight leader Oscar Floren was in a tie for third, the Swede signing for a 71 to sit alongside former Ryder Cup captain José María Olazábal, Dutchman Joost Luiten and Portugal’s Ricardo Santos on seven under.
Olazábal completed a 69 and insists he has not given up hope of winning tournaments again.
"The captaincy took a lot out of me, I could not dedicate as much time to my game, but now it's over I can spend time on the range working on my game," he said.
"I have never lost hope, that's why I spend hours and hours on the range.
"Health-wise I have had problems but at the moment I cannot complain.
"It's going to be hard for me to remember the last time I won a tournament, but the main goal is to keep improving my game to get myself in positions like this."