Lee Slattery was delighted to shake off the rust as a battling 71 in tough conditions put him in contention heading into the weekend at the D+D Real Czech Masters for the third season in a row.
The Englishman has finished second and fourth the past two years at Albatross Golf Resort but arrived in Prague after four weeks off having not qualified for The Open Championship or WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
The break came just at the wrong time for the two time European Tour winner, who had finished in the top ten at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open as he made back to back cuts in the Rolex Series having missed ten of his first 14.
An opening 65 was followed by a 71 on a rainy day two in the Czech capital and Slattery was happy to be in the mix again.
"There's certainly been some form recently. I didn't want four weeks off," he said.
"Most people probably did but I'd just started to get into a rhythm and play well at the Scottish Open.
It doesn't feel as sharp as it did when I left but it is certainly better than I thought it was going to be - Lee Slattery
"Having four weeks at home, you work hard, you go to the gym, keep hitting balls but it's just not the same as competitive golf and until you get out here and start playing with the world's best golfers, you don't really know where your game is.
"It doesn't feel as sharp as it did when I left but it is certainly better than I thought it was going to be."
Slattery sandwiched a bogey on the 17th with a birdie on the 12th and an excellent putt up the ridge on the third on Friday to put himself near the top of the leaderboard but admitted he did not feel he deserved a 71.
“It felt like the pins were a little trickier today, which the guys I was playing with seemed to think too," he said. "It was just harder, we had little squalls or rain throughout the day and the ball didn’t seem to be going as far.
“I’ve been putting really well over the last few months which has really helped but I think shooting one under par today, I certainly didn't deserve that because I didn’t play great. I hit some great bunker shots and some nice pitches when I needed to and kept the momentum going."