Ardglass man Cormac Sharvin is a shot off the lead at the halfway stage of the Northern Ireland Open after firing a flawless six-under-par 65 on Friday.
The 25-year-old's round left in a four-strong group on 10 under - one behind South Korean 17-year-old Minkyu Kim.
Unruffled by regular showers at Galgorm Castle, Kim fired a 67 after a 64 had given a share of the first-round lead.
Sharvin is in second spot with France's Victor Perez, Denmark's Mark Flindt Haastrup and Welshman Stuart Manley.
Another Northern Ireland man Jonathan Caldwell, like Sharvin a former Walker Cup player, is only three off the pace on eight under after an impressive 66 on Friday.
Local Ballymena player Dermot McElroy is just outside the top 20 after a 67 moved him to four under but tournament ambassador Michael Hoey missed the cut by one stroke after an horrendous run of six dropped shots in three holes near the end of his round saw him finish one over.
Hoey, following an opening one-under 70, improved to four under after starting at the 10th but a run of seven, five, five dropped him to two over and a closing birdie at the ninth wasn't enough to save the five-time European Tour winner.
Sharvin copes well despite 'miserable' conditions
Sharvin got off to a fast start with birdies at the opening two holes after after another gain at the ninth, a long putt on 11 put him on four under for the day before he picked up two more shots on 16 and 17.
"I hit a couple of loose shots but kind of scrambled well. I wasn't totally flawless out there. I managed myself very well around the golf course," said Sharvin.
After struggling in recent weeks, Sharvin, 103rd in the Challenge Tour rankings, didn't even book any accommodation for Friday night and he jokingly asked the assembled media whether they had any spare rooms going.
But after taking last week off to work on his game with his coaches, Sharvin's game looks in far better shape at the Ballymena venue.
Leader Kim has missed eight of last 10 cuts
Leader Kim has missed eight cuts since winning in the Czech Republic but his game has clicked back into shape in Northern Ireland.
Playing the back nine first, the Korean went to the turn in 32 - helped by three successive birdies from the 14th - but as conditions deteriorated, he grafted seven straight pars before dropping two shots at the short fifth, following a three putt.
However, Kim snatched back those two shots with a closing eagle.
"I have been in this position before so I feel confident," said the 17-year-old.
Frenchman Perez's 64 was the round of the day after going out in 28 following seven birdies.
Dane Haastrup shot a second 66 to join Sharvin, Perez and Welshman Manley on 10 under.
Scottish trio two off the pace
A trio of Scots, Scott Henry, Ross Kellett and Calum Hill, who made the cut at the US Open in June, are sharing sixth two off the pace while Clandeboye man Caldwell is tied for ninth a further stroke back.
Ballymena man McElroy didn't drop a shot in his 67 as he moved to four under, which left him a stroke ahead of Derry native Michael McGeady.
Castledawson man Chris Selbridge survived into the weekend as a 69 left him one under but another Derryman Ruaidhri McGee crashed out on three over after following his opening 68 with a 78.
Hoey wasn't the only European Tour winner to miss the cut as 2008 Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson also exited on one over.
2008 Irish Open champion Richard Finch, after his opening 65, led the field after moving to eight under in his second round but a run of five bogeys in six holes saw him dropping back to four under.
Simon Dyson, who has earned six European Tour wins, continued his comeback from a serious wrist injury as a 69 saw him into the final two rounds on one under.