Sweden's Peter Hedblom, who has earned just £30,000 on the European Tour this season, moved into contention for the £300,000 first prize in the ISPS Handa Wales Open.
Hedblom made the halfway cut with two shots to spare at Celtic Manor after consecutive rounds of 72 left him two over par, but that was only seven shots off the lead as the players found scoring difficult at the former Ryder Cup venue.
And the three-time European Tour winner found himself up into a share of fourth place when he went to the turn in 33 and also picked up shots on the 13th and 14th.
At three under par, Hedblom was just two behind shock leader Liam Bond, who is ranked 1,528th in the world and only got into the tournament at the last minute.
Rounds of 69 and 68 gave Bond a five-under-par total of 137, one shot clear of first-round leader Espen Kofstad - who could only add a 74 to his opening 64 - and South African Tjaart van der Walt.
The club professional at nearby St Pierre, Bond won his European Tour card on his 16th visit to the qualifying school but was unable to retain it after finishing 191st on the Order of Merit in 2011.
Since then he has concentrated largely on regional events, winning three this season, and missed the cut in his only Challenge Tour event of 2013 in Scotland in June.
Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has already ruled himself out of playing at Gleneagles next year but was just two off the lead on three under, alongside England's Graeme Storm, who is reaping the benefits of using a club rejected by Jose Maria Olazabal.
"I was looking for a new putter in Ireland and picked this one up," Storm explained. "The guy said it had been specially made for Olazabal but he didn't want it. I picked it up and since then I've played great with it."