Huge task for battling Marshall

Norfolk's Andrew Marshall is neck and neck with Rory McIlroy going into the third round of his latest Challenge Tour event – but he is still well down the field in a tie for 41st position.

Marshall made the halfway cut in the Egyptian Open with something to spare yesterday after adding a level par 72 to his opening round of 73.

That left him level with McIlroy, who struggled to a 74 in tricky conditions, and 10 behind leader Lee Slattery, who produced an outstanding second round of 66 at the JW Marriott Mirage City Golf Club just outside Cairo.

Marshall, currently 38th in the rankings, needs to climb into the top 20 to secure a return to the full European Tour. To do that he must earn around �17,000 in the final two events, with the Egypt Open followed by the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final in Italy.

A top five finish this weekend would need to be followed by something even better next week, so the Dereham professional will need to round off his season in spectacular fashion to avoid a return to Tour School next month.

Slattery, currently 21st in the Challenge Tour rankings, made just one error in an otherwise flawless display.

Slattery posted a nine under par halfway total of 135 to take a one stroke lead over Italy's Alessandro Tadini and Scotland's George Murray, with Murray's countryman Scott Jamieson, Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera, and the Swede Joel Sjoholm sharing fourth place on six under.

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'I just didn't put a foot wrong today to be honest,' said Slattery, winner of the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2004. 'I felt it was going to be a good day but it turned out to be a great day. Everything has felt pretty good this week and it is not often that you come into a tournament feeling confidence throughout every aspect of your game.'

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