The Wales Open will resume tomorrow with a little-known Australian eyeing the main prize and with its star attraction nowhere to be seen.
Open champion Padraig Harrington crashed out of Celtic Manor when a second round 74 sent him to his first missed cut on European soil since October 2006.
Scott Strange, a 31-year-old from Perth ranked 164th in the world, is the man the rest have to try to catch after marvellous rounds of 63 and 66 on the newly unwrapped layout where Europe and America will do Ryder Cup battle in two years' time.
At 13 under par he leads the race for the £300,000 winner's cheque by four from English pair Benn Barham and Robert Dinwiddie, Spain's Alvaro Velasco and Indian Jeev Milkha Singh. Former winner Robert Karlsson, third in each of the last three tournaments is in the group one further back.
Two wins on the Asian Tour have been the highlight of Strange's professional career so far, but in his first full season as a European Tour member he has already finished joint runner-up at the Johnnie Walker Classic in India.
"I'd love to win on every tour and to win here would be fantastic," he said. "Playing in Asia is different to here, but I'm adapting quite well."
Harrington was never able to produce anything like the form that brought him his first major title at Carnoustie last July.
After bowing out on two over, a massive 15 strokes behind Strange, the Dubliner thinks he has found something in his putting even though he admitted he putted "abominably" and said: "This just convinces me to be more committed in my decision-making.
"You never like to miss the cut. It's an interesting game this – I could play a lot worse and make the cut."
Colin Montgomerie's 68 for five under meant he was not out of the running, but last year's winner Richard Sterne and runner-up Bradley Dredge headed out along with Harrington.
Yorkshire's Danny Willett, whose European Tour debut as an amateur two months ago began with an eagle, made the cut in his first professional event by chipping in at the last for another.Reuse content