Joakim Lagergren, Peter Uihlein and Danny Willett all made early moves up the leaderboard as day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation got under way.
Ballyliffin Golf Club was making its Irish Open debut at the fourth Rolex Series event of the season and while conditions were more overcast than they had been on day one, the northern coast of Ireland was still providing a stunning backdrop for links golf.
Swede Lagergren, American Uihlein and England's Willett all picked up shots on their front nines to join overnight leader Ryan Fox at five under, a shot clear of fellow morning starters Dean Burmester, Russell Knox and Lee Westwood.
Rocco Forte Sicilian Open champion Lagergren had made seven birdies on Thursday and he continued that theme with gains on the first, third and fourth to get to six under.
Westwood had also moved to six under with gains on the tenth and 13th but the Englishman slipped back with bogeys on the 15th and 16th, while Lagergren dropped a shot on the eighth.
Uihlein made birdies on the 12th, 13th, 16th and 17th to go with a dropped shot on the 15th as he turned in 34, while 2016 Masters Tournament winner Willett had a single birdie on the 12th in his first six holes.
South African Burmester made gains on the 13th, 16th and 17th to turn in 34, with Scot Knox reeling off a hat-trick of gains from the 11th in his first six holes.
Kiwi Fox was among the later starters, as were Padraig Harrington, Ashley Chesters, Robert Rock, Matthieu Pavon and Adrien Saddier at four under.
Dane Thorbjørn Olesen and England's Paul Waring had moved into the group at three under, with tournament host Rory McIlroy a shot further back.
|T4||VAN ROOYEN, Erik||RSA||18||-12|