BEN WELCH maintained his position as joint leader of The Brown & Mason Classic at Maylands GC in Essex.
A second round four-under-par 67 took him to 132 (ten-under-par) for the tournament to share first place with Darren Charlton (Tilsworth).
Welch managed six birdies and two bogeys whilst Charlton shot a six-under-par 65 to join him at the head of the leaderboard.
Charlton ended with birdies at 17 and 18 to edge in front of two-time 2004 event winner Tim Rice, continuing his recent good form.
A high finish will elevate Rice to the top of the Order of Merit and he stands every chance following a second day 65 to take him to nine-under-par for the tournament.
Six birdies, an eagle and two bogeys was his breakdown, but a missed birdie putt at the last denied him a share of top spot.
Denny Lucas, joint overnight leader with Welch, dropped back to tie with Rice after a poor finish of his 68 (three-under-par) round.
Lucas had gained four shots on the opening five holes but two bogeys and only one further shot gained saw him end the day on 133 (nine-under-par).
Dutchman Inder Van Weerelt is a further shot behind on 134, whilst Graeme Clark (Special Steel Group/Doncaster) is on 136 along with New Zealander Richard Squire and Ben St John (Woodcote Park).
Elsewhere, Daryl Ley shot a nine-iron hole-in-one on the 16th which guarantees him entry in to the Tour Championship for a shoot out to win a Peugeot car.
And Ladies Tour player Danielle Masters, who has played in the Curtis Cup, was also involved, but two rounds of 77 meant she would not take part in the final day.
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