Padraig Harrington faced a long wait to discover if he had survived the halfway cut after a bad morning’s work at the Vivendi Cup in Paris.
Four under par overnight, Europe’s most controversial wild card pick for next week’s Ryder Cup slumped all the way to one over before coming back with three late birdies.
At 22nd in the world the only player in the game’s top 80 taking part in the event, Harrington’s 74 left him two under par, a massive 10 shots behind and in joint 59th place midway through the day.
Only the top 65 and ties progress to the final 36 holes and an early exit would be a big blow to his confidence before heading to Celtic Manor.
Harrington was preferred to Paul Casey by captain Colin Montgomerie despite not having won a tour event for over two years and failing to win a game in the last two cup matches.
Casey is the current world number seven and resumed in Atlanta today as the joint leader of the Tour Championship featuring 30 of the sport’s star names.
The Dubliner double-bogeyed the fifth and went out of bounds for a triple-bogey seven on the 12th in addition to two other bogeys.
He birdied all four of the Retz course’s par fives, though, and made a potentially crucial 12-footer at the 414-yard 17th.
Another birdie at the last would have eased his worries about crashing out, but he went just over the green and had to settle for par.
Out in front were Julien Guerrier and Jarmo Sandelin, Frenchman Guerrier with two holes of his second round to go and former Ryder Cup player Sandelin eight.
Overnight pacesetter and fellow Swede Johan Edfors, whose 11-under 61 equalled the lowest round of the European Tour season so far, had back-to-back double-bogeys in a front-nine 41, but came back with a hat-trick of birdies to be in a tie for fourth.
Harrington said: "It wasn't great. I made two terrible mental errors and they do a lot of damage.
“I thought three birdies in the last six was good enough, but now I look at it it’s very tight.
“It is what it is. I’ve got enough out of these two days – I need to practise my putting no matter what and get that ready for next week.
“It would be better if I had another 36 holes to do it, but I can see that’s the weakest part of my game and that’s where my focus will be.”
When told about Casey leading in the United States – he did not know - Harrington said: “I genuinely hope he wins it. Fair play to him and there’s not much I can do about the golf he’s playing.
“I’m certainly not going to wish he plays bad golf. That’s not going to make me play better. I’m looking forward to the Ryder Cup and that’s all I can focus on – not whether Paul Casey or Justin Rose should have got a pick.”