MICHAEL WELCH braved a thunder storm to join David Fisher in the lead going into the final round of the Marriott Sprowston Manor Open.
Welch was among a group of players to be caught in a heavy storm during Wednesday afternoon’s second round, which caused play to be suspended in Norwich for an hour.
But he failed to let the inclement weather affect his game, ending on -8 following a fine 67, his second in succession in the event.
Welch actually began the round with two straight bogeys, but responded with four birdies and an eagle to move out to -8.
That saw him join Fisher at the front of the pack, with the overnight leader following up his course record 64 from day one with a one-under-par round of 70, dropping just one shot.
They sit two strokes clear of Irishman Eamonn Brady and Scotland’s Graham Rankin.
Brady shot two eagles and four birdies in a superb 65 – the best of the day – while Rankin posted a second successive 68 to join him at -6.
Kieran Staunton missed out on the chance to finish at -7 for the tournament when he posted two bogeys in three holes during the back nine of his second round – after earlier hitting three birdies.
Guy Woodman and Phil Worthington joined the chasing pack by scoring rounds of 68 and 69 respectively for day two, with Darren Prosser, Mark Smith and Gary Oliver also sat at -3.
A total of 51 players will take part in Thursday’s final round after making the cut of +5, with 25 scoring at par or better for the tournament.
Full scores are available by clicking the Score Update link to the right.