World no.3 Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Dewi Claire Schreefel of the Netherlands lead the field by a stroke following the second round of the Ladies Irish Open supported by Fáilte Ireland.
Heavy rain and thunder and lightning caused the suspension of play at 6.10pm at Killeen Castle, but after an hour and a half delay, the round was completed at approximately 9pm and 66 players made the cut at +2.
A stunning course record of nine under par 63 took Pettersen to the top of the leader board at 10 under par early in the day.
Her round included seven birdies and an eagle at the par-five 12th hole, but it could even have been a 59 according to her playing partner, Christina Kim.
Pettersen, 30, won the 2008 title at Portmarnock Links and is playing this week to qualify for The Solheim Cup, which will take place at the same venue from September 23-25.
With her performance, she will have put a smile on the face of the European team captain Alison Nicholas and Pettersen said: “I’m now in a position where I can automatically qualify.”
She was also fairly happy with her round. “I would have taken ten under total when I teed off this morning. The conditions were perfect, hardly any wind and I just figured out a few adjustments from how to play yesterday because it was a lot firmer on the bounce than it was last year,” she said.
“The par fives, you have got to try and take advantage of the par fives, especially if you hit good tee shots. There are short par fours, the greens are rolling good. There is nothing saying you can’t do it but nine under is always a good score.
“I made an eagle and then missed a six footer for eagle on the next par five, so it could easily have been two; but it can always be a few less. I made a few longer putts that she won in but I think it all evens up.”
Schreefel, looking for her first victory on the Ladies European Tour, ended her round just before the suspension of play and had seven birdies and one bogey in a 66.
The 25-year-old, who lives in Santa Monica, said: “I’m very happy. I played pretty good and made the putts for birdie, so it’s good.
“I haven’t played this course very much. This is the first week, so I felt comfortable after yesterday and I felt comfortable after last week because I played well at the British. I played my game and you’ve got to hit the ball in the right spots and you’re going to have opportunities.”
Azahara Munoz, the world no.50 from Spain, finished a stroke back after a solid second round of 68, containing five birdies and one bogey.
Sweden’s Maria Hjorth, Irish-born Alison Walshe from the United States, England’s Melissa Reid, South African Lee-Anne Pace and Paraguay’s Julieta Granada ended in a group at eight under. Granada had a hole in one at the sixth in her 66.
England’s Laura Davies and Australian Karen Lunn finished at seven under, while three Irish players will compete in the final round on Sunday.
Lisa Maguire, the 16-year-old amateur from Cavan, is the leading Irish player at five under par after a 68, while her twin sister Leona also made the cut to end on one over, a stroke ahead of compatriot Martina Gillen.
The third and final round begins at 7.30am on Sunday, with the leading pair of Pettersen and Schreefel teeing off at 12.30pm.