Horsey carded seven birdies and an eagle in his eight-under-par round at the Himmerland Golf and Spa Resort to lead by one from Welshman Oliver Farr.
Horsey made it to the top of the leaderboard with a sparkling 63, equalling the lowest nine holes on The European Tour this year by playing the back nine in 28 after starting on the 10th, and was threatening the first 59 in Tour history when he birdied the second to sit eight under with seven to play.
But the three-time European Tour winner’s hopes took a major dent with a bogey on the fifth and when an eagle putt on the sixth failed to break, the chance was gone.
“It’s always fabulous to get off to a start like that. It was a little disappointing not to make a few more (birdies) on the front nine – my back nine – but eight-under 63 is a great score.
“The magic number (59) crept into my head going down the fourth. I wouldn’t say it affected me too much but I three-putted, then made a mess of the next hole.
“After that it was just about getting to my strategy and finishing strongly, and I managed to do that.
“I’m pleased with how I handled myself in that situation and you don’t get many opportunities to shoot 59, so I can probably be excused for letting it creep in.”
“It was fantastic,” Horsey said. “It’s nice when you get on a run like that.
“It’s what we practise for – to hit good shots in close – and I did that today. I rode the wave. It was one of those days where everything seemed to click.
“It’s my lowest round on the European Tour, which is nice to say. I’ve put myself in a great position for this tournament now. I’ve been playing nicely. I’ve had three weeks off so I’ve been ready to get back out here and play.” Scot Paul Lawrie fired a bogey-free 65 for his lowest round in more than two years. That 65 was enough to put him a shot clear of Kjeldsen, Graeme Storm, Carlos Del Moral, Terry Pilkadaris, Ireland’s Peter Lawrie, John Parry and last year’s runner-up, Bradley Dredge.
Darren Clarke and Simon Thornton were next bet of the Irish, two under after 69s.
Waterford’s Kevin Phelan and Michael Hoey are two shots further back at level par while Damien McGrane is one over.
Defending champion Marc Warren saw his chances take a heavy blow as he took a triple-bogey seven on his last – the ninth – to finish one under.
Meanwhile Olivia Mehaffey kept alive her chances of a fourth major stroke-play title this year as she stayed in touch with the leaders in the British Ladies Open stroke-play championship at Moortown in Leeds yesterday.
The 17-year-old Scottish and Welsh Open stroke-play champion and the Irish girls title holder from Royal County Down returned a one over par 75 for a 36-hole total of 148-level par.
Three bogeys in the last six holes were rather her undoing.
She now goes into the third round this morning four strokes adrift of leader Indian Aditi Ashok who was one clear of her nearest rivals Abi LAker of Frilford Heath and Bristol’s Bethel Popel.
Young Mairead Martin of Killarney also made the halfway cut with a highly-creditable 150 total comprising two rounds of 75.She had two bogeys in the last four holes yesterday.
Donaghadee also survived and is on 153 but Chloe Ryan,Maria Dunne,Mary Doyle and Valerie Clancy missed the cut.
Elsewhere straight hitting and clear thinking helped Paul Dunne cruise into the last 16 in the US Amateur Open Championship in windy Chicago last night.
The 22-year old Greystones star beat 17-year old American Caleb Proveaux 3 and 2 in winds gusting over 20 mph but was then locked in a tight last 16 clash with Colorado’s David Oaree, being two up through 14.
The University of Alabama-Birmingham graduate didn’t make a birdie all day againset Proveaux but still played beautifully, driving the ball long and straigh on a lush North Course.
“I’m hitting it long and straight and missing in the right spots, which means I am giving myself shots into every hole,” Dunne said. “It’s about picking the right shots and the right targets.”