Robert Rock shot a blistering 66 to join American Peter Uihlein in a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the Irish Open - where Rory McIlroy led a host of big names to miss the cut.
As the two leaders profited, many of the global game's superstars struggled in the Carton House conditions and will not be playing at the weekend after the cut was set at level par - with McIlroy finishing on two over after another disappointing day at the office.
McIlroy's fellow major winners Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington shot 74s to miss the cut by just one shot, both finishing on one over.
American Uihlein, who won his maiden European Tour title in Madeira last month, added a 68 to his opening 67 to set the clubhouse target of nine under which was quickly matched by Rock in the group behind.
Rock, who lost a play-off to Shane Lowry at Baltray in 2009 but claimed the winner's cheque for 500,000 euros as Lowry was an amateur at the time, carded four birdies and an eagle from just four feet on the par-five fourth to return a flawless 66.
Lowry had a tough start to his second round on his home course with two bogeys in his first three holes, but in difficult conditions he held his round together superbly and two birdies on his last two holes saw him shoot a two-under 70.
That left Lowry two shots off the lead on seven under in a five-man group - with the surprise name in that tie for third being Europe's 2012 Ryder Cup-winning skipper Jose Maria Olazabal.
The 47-year-old Spaniard, who won the Irish Open way back in 1990, completed a 69 to finish seven under and said: "The captaincy took a lot out of me, I could not dedicate as much time to my game, but now it's over I can spend time on the range working on my game."
Overnight leader Oscar Floren remains in the hunt in the group on seven under, along with Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, and Portugal's Ricardo Santos - who matched Rock's 66 as the two best rounds of the day.