England’s Ross Fisher burst into the lead at the 3 Irish Open with a dazzling six successive birdies in Killarney today.
Despite morning rain the Volvo World Match Play champion re-ignited his push for a Ryder Cup debut in October by charging from two under par to eight under.
The birdie run came to an end when he missed a 12-footer on the ninth, but a par there still meant he turned in just 29 strokes.
Overnight leader David Howell, on the other hand, double-bogeyed the first and 10th as he slipped back from seven under to four under.
Fisher was tied at the top with 2004 winner Brett Rumford, the Australian resuming with back-to-back birdies and then two-putting the long seventh for another.
They were two in front of Rumford’s compatriot Richard Green, Korean teenager Noh Seung-yul and Ireland’s Damien McGrane, who turned in 34 but then found the waster like Howell on the short 10th and bogeyed.
McGrane was still out-scoring illustrious playing partners Padraig Harrington and US Open champion Graeme McDowell.
Harrington was only one behind him, though, after a front nine 33 boosted his hopes of a first win for almost two years, but McDowell was in danger of missing the cut at level par with eight to play.
The Ulsterman did birdie the eighth, but had bogeys on the 200-yard third and 171-yard 10th, where he narrowly avoided the lake, but then chipped weakly.
Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose – five under, four under and three over yesterday – were among the later starters along with Green.
Former European Open champion Kenneth Ferrie, who struggled to an opening 77, withdrew with stomach trouble before hitting another shot.
The 3 Irish Open Leaderboard
8 under - Ross Fisher (after 27 holes)
Brett Rumford (Aus) (25)
6 under – Damien McGrane (28)
Seung-yul Noh (Kor) (27)
Richard Green (Aus) (18)
5 under – Anders Hansen (Den) (31)
Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa) (25)
Michael Hoey (24)
Darren Clarke (18)
Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra) (18)
Anton Haig (Rsa) (18)
Padraig Harrington (28)
Paul Lawrie (18)
Marcel Siem (Ger) (18)
4 under – David Howell (31)
Mark Foster (23)
Eirik Tage Johansen (Nor) (20)
Francois Delamontagne (Fra) (18)
David Dixon (18)
Johan Edfors (Swe) (18)