After two rounds at the National Golf Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina, the former Daily Telegraph boys champion and England international is on three under par, just four behind leaders Ben Curtis and Chris Woolman.
He shot rounds of 71 and 70 and needs two similar efforts to reach final qualifying for the Tour. Chris Hanell of Sweden is also well-placed in fifth after rounds of 69 and 68 to be seven under par at Old Fort, Tennessee.
Luke Donald, from Buckinghamshire is already through after winning his qualifying event by eight shots at La Parisima, California. Paul Curry, the European Tour veteran, also made it with a one under par four-round total at Tampa Bay.
German Alex Cejka is on the borderline after rounds of 72 and 69 at Bogart in Georgia at the halfway stage, where the 21 best scores go through to the final two rounds, but there was no joy for two other European Tour players.
Anders Forsbrand of Sweden missed the cut by one at Martin Downs , Florida and a second round 76 cost German Sven Struver a chance of his card after a dash to Florida from Scotland where he competed in the Dunhill Links Championship.