July 8, 2017: Benjamin Hebert and Daniel Im will share a one-shot lead heading into the weekend at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation after another low-scoring day at Portstewart Golf Club.
The duo came into day two one shot ahead of the pack and remained there after both firing rounds of 67 to get to 13 under and lead the way from World Number 11 Jon Rahm.
The Spaniard also carded a 67 and he found himself a shot ahead of English duo Oliver Fisher and Matthew Southgate, and New Zealander Ryan Fox.
Starting from the tenth, Rahm opened with a birdie and while he dropped a shot on the 12th, he took advantage of the back-to-back par fives, eagling the 14th and birdieing the 15th.
Im also birdied the tenth and added further gains on 17th and first before dropping a shot on the third and when Rahm birdied the 18th with an approach to three feet, he led on his own.
A bogey on the first dropped Rahm back to ten under and that was a three-way tie as Hebert bounced back from a bogey on the 11th with a hat-trick of gains from the 12th.
A Rahm birdie on the second edged him back ahead but Im birdied the sixth and despite a heavy-handed third on the par four seventh, Im had the lead thanks to an impressive putt.
A poor second shot and a three-putt on the fourth from Rahm handed Im a two-shot lead but Rahm responded from 18 feet on the next before Im birdied the ninth, with his 47 putts over 36 holes the lowest total of the season so far.
Rahm then took advantage of the par five seventh to cut the lead to one and put himself in an excellent position heading into the weekend.
Hebert bogeyed the first but a lengthy putt on the third got him back into double figures and when he made back-to-back birdies on the sixth and seventh for the second day in a row, he was just one back.
A beautiful approach to the ninth then secured a seventh birdie of the day and it was as you were at the top.
He made four birdies in a row from the 13th and bounced back from a bogey on the first with an excellent right-to-lefter on the second before making further gains on the sixth and seventh.
Southgate claimed an emotional fourth-place at this event last season to secure his card less than 12 months after recovering from testicular cancer and he stayed bogey-free for the week in his 68.
He started with a birdie on the tenth and then made 14 pars before eagling from 20 feet on the seventh and making a birdie on the next.
Fisher turned in level par 36 from the tenth but came to life on the front nine with birdies on the first, second, fourth and sixth.
American Paul Peterson was then at ten under after a second consecutive round of 67.
World Number Two Hideki Matsuyama was level par for his round after 13 holes but birdied four of his last five to get to nine under alongside fellow Japanese Hideto Tanihara who was bogey-free in carding the round of the day with a 65.
Scot David Drysdale and England’s Anthony Wall were also at nine under, a shot ahead of a group containing former champions Jamie Donaldson and Søren Kjelden, and two ahead of Padraig Harrington and Justin Rose.
Tournament host and defending champion Rory McIlroy missed the cut after a 73 left him one over par.