There will be no Darren Clarke or Padraig Harrington for the expected huge crowds to cheer on in the last two rounds of the Irish Open in Killarney, but Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell plan to fill the void.
McIlroy grabbed three late birdies for a second round 68 on Friday while fellow Ulsterman McDowell, the 22-year-old's predecessor as US Open champion, went two better than that to put both of them on four under par at halfway.
But that is six behind German Marcel Siem, who late in the day eagled the long 16th and sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the next to move one ahead of Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and Dane Soren Hansen.
For Clarke and Harrington, though, the end had come by lunchtime.
In his first start since his dream Open Championship victory at Sandwich 42-year-old Clarke dropped four shots in the last eight holes for a 74 and one over aggregate.
Three-major winner Harrington had little hope after double-bogeying the short sixth and with a 72 crashed out on three over.
Singh led by two after an opening 63 that matched the lowest round of his career and, given he hit a wild opening drive into the stones beside Lough Leane, he settled for adding a 70.
But that allowed ex-Ryder Cup man Hansen to catch him with a 66, while defending champion Ross Fisher and fellow Englishmen Simon Dyson and Simon Wakefield are among those on seven under and promising Irish amateur Paul Cutler stands six under after a 67.
For Liverpool's Nick Dougherty the misery just goes on, however. With a 74 for seven over he missed his 19th successive cut going back to last November.