SECOND ROUND LEADERBOARD:
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-7 R Ramsay -6 R Fisher, R Rock -5 F Andersson Hed (Swe), I Garrido (Spa), J Gonnet (Fra), JM Singh (Ind) -4 N Dougherty, M Foster, C Montgomerie, F Zanotti (Par)
-3 T Bjorn (Den), P McGinley +2 C Pavin (US) +10 S Lowry
Ramsay has been in impressive form at Celtic Manor
Scotland's Richie Ramsay held off English duo Ross Fisher and Robert Rock to take a one-shot lead into the third round of the Wales Open.
Ramsay shot a four-under 67 to reach seven under overall, while Fisher carded 66 and Rock 68.
European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie was in a group three strokes adrift after a second 69.
The Scot's US Ryder Cup counterpart Corey Pavin shot a second successive 72 for two over to make the cut by one.
Dane Thomas Bjorn, who shared the lead overnight, slipped back to three under after a 73, while another of the first-round leaders, England's Nick Dougherty, slid to four under after a 72.
Ramsay, the 2006 US Amateur champion, has shown little form and lies 155th on the European money list in his rookie year as a pro, but a bogey-free round took him closer to a maiden win.
"For me this is a massive tournament, I think it's a strong field," said the 25-year-old. "And doing this at a Ryder Cup venue is great.
It's nice that I'm competing to have some idea of what's needed in the Ryder Cup but this weekend I'm trying to win the Wales Open
"I didn't miss a green and I was mostly inside 10 or 12 feet, but I missed three birdie putts inside six feet."
Rock and Fisher are both looking to improve on recent near-misses.
Rock lost a play-off for the Irish Open to amateur Shane Lowry, while Fisher was pipped for the PGA Championship at Wentworth by Paul Casey.
"This is a great opportunity - a chance to cash in big time," said Fisher.
"I obviously didn't want to miss the cut defending the European Open last week, but after a weekend off I feel as fresh as a daisy and I probably needed it."
Rock reached eight under, but then dropped four strokes in three holes before finishing strongly.
"I felt myself taking less and less time over the shots and it just slipped away a bit," said Rock.
"But when we got to the next leaderboard I was relieved to see I hadn't put myself four or five behind."
Pavin is in Wales to assess the Twenty Ten course ahead of next year's Ryder Cup match and he was struck by the generosity of the crowds.
"The reception has been very good. I've met a lot of nice people and I'm not sure there's a mean person in Wales," he said.
Montgomerie, the eight-time European number one, has not even had a top-10 this season and languishes 87th on the money list, but the 45-year-old Scot firmly believes he has chance to seal a 32nd European Tour title.
"You look at the crowds, the feeling of the whole thing and you know you're playing the same course (as the Ryder Cup) and you do get inspiration," said Montgomerie, who began with four birdies in five holes.
"There's a definite buzz around the place.
"It's nice that I'm competing to have some idea of what's needed (next year). But this weekend I'm trying to win the Wales Open."
Lowry, who turned pro after the Irish Open, added a 75 to his opening 77 to miss the cut by eight, following his missed cut at last week's European Open.