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Jorge Campillo hits the front in Ireland

Jorge Campillo hits the front in Ireland

Jorge Campillo leads by a single shot at the halfway stage of the 2022 Horizon Irish Open after enjoying the best of the weather at Mount Juliet Estate on Friday.

Jorge Campillo

Morning starter Campillo made six birdies and two bogeys in his first 15 holes before the conditions worsened, and despite the heavy rain, he managed to complete his second-round 68 with three straight pars to enter the clubhouse on 11 under par.

And even though the weather improved towards the end of the day, none of the later starters were able to match the Spaniard's 36-hole total.

Poland's Adrian Meronk was in a share of second place after closing his 67 with a birdie, alongside Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti, who added a 69 to Thursday's 65.

Local favourite Seamus Power was then two strokes further back in the large group on eight under.

World Number 36 Power was cheered on by his home crowd in the afternoon, treating them to seven birdies in a second successive 68.

Fellow Irishman and playing partner Shane Lowry received perhaps the biggest roar of the day at the 18th, though, as he closed his second round with four birdies in a row to make the cut and join countryman Pádraig Harrington on three under.

Campillo began the day one shot off the lead but an early bogey at the 11th - his second hole - saw him slip back to six under.

The two-time DP World Tour winner bounced back in style, though, making back-to-back birdies at the 12th and 13th before holing from almost 30 feet for another on the 15th green.

He reached the turn in 33 after taking advantage of the par-five 17th, before coming close to holing his tee-shot at the short third.

After tapping in his birdie putt there, Campillo set up a great eagle chance at the fifth but could not convert from inside four feet and had to settle for another birdie.

Bunker trouble at the par-three sixth saw Campillo drop a shot there before three closing pars helped him to a 68.

Campillo was pleased with his performance so far and is looking forward to the weekend.

He said: "I played great over the last two days, so I can't complain.

"It was a great two days. Today was a little tougher than yesterday and I managed to play OK as well, so I'm quite happy about it.

"It's going to be a hard weekend but just looking forward to the weekend.

"If I can keep putting the ball in play off the tee, hitting good irons like I've been doing, not missing short putts, missed a few today, it will be a good weekend I think."

Having started at the tenth tee, Meronk turned in 33 courtesy of birdies at the tenth, 16th and 17th.

He made two more at the first and fifth before dropping his first shot of the day at the sixth, but he got the shot back from close range at the ninth to move to ten under.

Zanotti made four birdies in his 69, with his only blemish a bogey on the par-five tenth.

The moment of Friday's second round came at the 18th as Major Champion Lowry holed from 19 feet to guarantee his place in the tournament over the weekend.

Having reeled off three straight birdies beforehand to give himself the chance to get to three under, Lowry was delighted to sink the putt.

He said: "It was pretty cool. To be honest, I had kind of resigned myself to the fact I was going home, packing my bags. Don't know if I've ever birdied the last four to make a cut so that's a first. I'm just happy to be in the weekend."

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