Connor Syme will try to banish thoughts of a U.S. Open trip next month after putting himself in striking distance of a first Stateside major appearance.
The 25-year-old Scot earned top spot through 36 holes of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor after backing up his opening five-under-par 66 with a satisfying one-under 70 in blustery conditions on Friday.
He landed third place last week at the Celtic Classic, played on the same Newport course, and at six under he leads by one shot heading into the weekend this time.
As well as a share of the tournament's prize fund of one million euros, players have an eye on the UK Swing Order of Merit that could catapult them into the field for the second major of the year.
The leading 10 performers from the UK Swing - the short series of events arranged as the European Tour gets back on its feet amid the COVID-19 pandemic - will be handed a place in the Winged Foot line-up, where they will brush up against golf's global elite.
Syme, who began the week ninth on that list, has played in two Open Championships, missing the cut each time, and would relish a first nibble at a major in the United States.
The world number 233 said of the U.S. Open prospect: "I'd say that was definitely one of my goals once I'd started the UK Swing. To put myself in to a position to do that is obviously great, but it's not something you can really think about, there's so much that can happen.
"I'm just trying to finish as high up the leaderboard as I can and hopefully the rest will take care of itself but there's still a lot of golf to be played."
He found the going tough on Friday, saying: "That was brutal, to be honest. It was a real grind, that was some of the hardest conditions I've played in. I'm delighted with 70 today.
"Although both my bogeys were three-putts it was one of those days where you're just trying to find the green, and missing it on the correct side was key to be honest. So I really trusted my pace putting, I holed a couple of nice ones but that was the key to a solid score in that wind."
Sweden's Sebastian Soderberg, who began the week 60th on the Order of Merit, posted a one-under 70 to reach four under par, a score shared by Sihwan Kim, Liam Johnston, Nacho Elvira, Jordan Smith and Li Haotong.
Elvira is the only player remaining in the field who is yet to register a bogey.