McGinley’s determination not to let the Ryder Cup captaincy to spoil his golf again came to the fore as recorded six birdies in a five-under-par 66 to move to five under in the event on the Oceanico Victoria course.
It left the Dubliner trailing seven shots behind the leading trio of South African Hennie Otto (63) and the English pair of Paul Waring (64) and David Lynn (65,) who head the field by a stroke on 12 under par.
This week is McGinley’s 16th event of the season and after missing three cuts immediately following his Gleneagles appointment he has now turned his form around since last month’s ‘Year to Go’ celebrations at Gleneagles.
“I’ve said many times lately it’s important I remain competitive and a 66 is a good score even though ‘Edinburgh Jimmy’ [his sick caddy] couldn’t make it today,” said McGinley. “He’s not well and shouldn’t have caddied yesterday but he’s just such a strong-minded guy.
“But then ‘Mucker’ [Rod Mucker] was a great replacement and I enjoyed his company
“Today was really just a continuation of the last month or so as I have been playing some good golf and really I will be disappointed when my season is over next fortnight in China.”
McGinley revealed he will spend two days in New York next week on business — not related to the Ryder Cup — before heading to Shanghai where he has been afforded an invitation by sponsors BMW to contest the BMW Masters.
As well, McGinley has spoken with Sky Sports and the company has agreed to allow him to commentate at five events early next year on the PGA Tour that will also better allow him to watch and speak to the leading Europeans competing on that side of the Atlantic.
Newcastle’s Simon Thornton heads the Irish contingent, but after an outward nine of 31 the reigning St Omer champion came home in an ambulance for a round of 69 and an eight under par tally.
Lowry again struggled with a 71 to finish on a one-under-par tally and miss the cut for the first time at a European Tour event since January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
“I can’t really beat myself up about this week as it is only one week and my first missed cut in a long time,” he said.
“But then it doesn’t matter whether it is by one shot or 10, I played well enough to contend again and that’s all I can say.”
But while Lowry can look forward to the end-of-season Final Series, Lawrie is now bound for Perth to try and secure his Tour card.
Lawrie arrived in Portugal lying 111th in the Race to Dubai, one spot outside the top-110 who will attain automatic 2014 Tour membership after next week’s Perth International.
However, after disappointing rounds of 77 and 71 Lawrie is certain to drop further behind.
“It just hasn’t been happening,” he said. “I have left no stone unturned. I have worked on every part of the game that is meant to be worked on and gotten no rewards.”