Liam Burns smashed his way to the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Kingspan Concra Wood Open on Thursday.
Burns (Sundridge Park), who came second to Dan Seymour in a play-off in the season opener at Wensum Valley in April, signed for an eight-under-par 64 in his second round to move to six under for the tournament, two shots ahead of his closest contenders.
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The Englishman is currently 12th on the 888poker.com PGA EuroPro Tour Order of Merit but could jump to the top of the pile should he claim victory at Concra Wood on Friday.
Wallace Booth (Comrie Golf Club) and Billy Hemstock (Teignmouth) both carded second round 67s, five shots under par, to move to four under overall and are tied for second behind Burns.
The course record at Concra Wood is a four-under-par 68, set by European Tour player Simon Thornton. However, because the preferred lies rule is in effect, none of the scores made on Thursday can be officially recognised as a course record.
Having carded a two-over-par 74 on Wednesday, Burns began Fridayâ€™s second round on the first tee and got off to a confident start with a birdie four. However, back-to-back bogeys at the par-four second and third pushed his score in the wrong direction.
With just six events to follow the Kingspan Concra Wood Open before the Tour Championship in the autumn, chances to earn a card on next seasonâ€™s Challenge Tour by concluding the summer in the all-important Order of Merit top five are beginning to thin out.
Knowing that another above-par round could see him miss the cut, Burns forced a change in his fortunes with a four at the par-five fourth and kept going to record five consecutive birdies through to the eighth.
A bogey at the 10th proved only to be a brief setback and Burns continued to dominate the course with five back-nine birdies to see him return home to sign for 64.
Booth started his round at the 10th and a solitary birdie at 15 saw him turn home at level par for the tournament following a 73 on Wednesday. Four birdies on his back nine; at one, three, four and seven, moved him up the leaderboard and the Scotsman signed for 67 at the end of his second round.
Like Booth, Hemstock had also finished his first round one above par and made five under on Thursday to move to four under overall. Starting at the first tee the Englishman was three under the card when he turned home but he dropped a shot with a bogey at 10. He soon made amends though, with birdies and 12, 14 and 18.
Four players are three shots behind Burns on three under par while nine golfers are a further shot off the lead.
A cut of the top 50 and ties has now been made with all those who have total scores of three over par or better progressing to the final round, which gets underway at 7:30am with the leading group due off the tee at 11:15am.