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A blemish-free 65 took Shane Lowry top of the Wales Open leaderboard

A blemish-free 65 took Shane Lowry top of the Wales Open leaderboard at the halfway stage on Friday.

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The Irishman moved to nine under overall, going one shot clear of first-day leader Joost Luiten and Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts.

Of the four Ryder Cup players in action, Scotland's Stephen Gallacher was the only one to miss the cut as he failed to recover from his abysmal 78 on Thursday.

His Team Europe colleagues fared better, though, with Jamie Donaldson carding a 67 to sit just four strokes off the pace, while Thomas Bjorn is a further three back, and Lee Westwood will head into the weekend even par.

But the day belonged to Lowry, who is relishing getting back out on the course on Saturday.

"There is still a long way to go in the tournament but I'm really looking forward to the weekend," he told the European Tour website.

"I didn't drive it that good yesterday [Thursday] but still shot a decent score. I drove it a lot better today, drove it a lot straighter and gave myself a lot of chances and rolled in a few putts, so it was nice."

The omens bode well for Lowry, with his three top-10 finishes this season having come on British soil.

He has found top form at the Celtic Manor Resort, host course for the 2010 Ryder Cup, and will fancy his chances of securing a third European title.

His hopes were further boosted by the fact that defending champion Gregory Bourdy missed the cut, the Frenchman's 71 leaving him two strokes shy of the required mark.

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