Graeme Storm toughed it out at the ultra-difficult Valderrama to clinch his place in the final two days of the Open de España.
Storm showed patience and nerve, not to mention skill, on day two at one of the most challenging courses on the European Tour circuit.
To shoot level par today is like shooting seven or eight under on another golf coursePABLO LARRAZABAL
It showed how hard it was that the Hartlepool golfer carded a three-over-par 74 at the former Ryder Cup venue – and still soared 28 places to reach the half-way stage in a share for 24th spot.
Storm was on 147 (five over) at the mid-point, which, on paper, does not sound something to brag about.
But given that only TWO players are under par, leader PabloLarrazabal (three under) and second-placed Englishman Andrew Johnston (one under), it shows Storm is in a good position.
The 38-year-old opened with six straight birdies before suffering his first dropped stroke at the 490-yard, four par seventh.
Two further bogey fives followed at the 389-yard par four 10th and the 433-yard 16th.
But when a birdie chance presents itself, it is vital it gets taken and Storm secured his first ed figure with a four at the 536-yard 17th.
It saw him sign for a good 75 on a day when many players were in the 80s.The cut line was set at nine over!
Spaniard Larrazabal hailed one of the best rounds of his career after claiming the halfway lead.
A combination of swirling winds and firm greens sent scores soaring. Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Peter Hanson were the only players to break par with rounds of 70.
“It was an awesome day, one of the top three of my golfing career,” Larrazabal told Sky Sports. “To shoot level par today is like shooting seven or eight under on another golf course.
“This course is so tight, you are in a valley all the time between trees and the wind was swirling around. The targets are very very small, so to put yourself in position to make birdies is difficult. In a perfect day if you have 60 per cent (chance), today you have seven per cent.
“If I shoot two more rounds of level par I will win, but if the wind keeps blowing probably level par will win it.”