Padraig Harrington's hopes of a Wales Open victory and a successful warm-up for next month's US Open ended in disarray yesterday when he looked certain to miss the cut.
A less than inspiring second round of three-over-par 74 for a two-over 144 two-round total left the British Open champion three strokes shy of the projected cut-off mark.
World No12 Harrington began the week with high hopes, playing the new course at Celtic Manor which will host the 2010 Ryder Cup.
The Irishman had opted to start his US Open preparation in Wales rather than America, but the plan backfired and he was 15 strokes behind Scott Strange, the early halfway leader.
A disappointed Harrington rejected the suggestion he would have been better off preparing in America, saying: "That's not the issue. It's not about conditions on the course or the speed of greens, it's how sharp my mind is.
"It's never very nice to miss a cut, but it was through my focus and decision-making and not where I played."
Strange followed up his opening eight-under 63 with a 66 to set a 13-under 129 target. Robert Dinwiddie (65) lies second at 133. Robert Karlsson, who has three third places in his last three events, and Raphael Jacquelin are a further stroke back.