The Englishman is in danger of losing his playing privileges following a stop-start campaign but belied his 446th place in the world rankings to take advantage of ideal scoring conditions in the morning to finish on six under par at The International.
The 26-year-old was forced to withdraw at the Omega European Masters last month due to food poisoning before retiring during the second round of last week’s Porsche European Open with a back injury and needs some good results to ensure another season on the European Tour. However, Shinkwin eased his pain when he reached the turn in 32, courtesy of an eagle, three birdies and one dropped shot, before a blemish-free back nine – which included two more gains – helped him to the top of the leaderboard.
Scotland’s Marc Warren, left, English trio Chris Paisley, Matthew Southgate and Sam Horsfield, Malaysian Gavin Green, Swede Per Langfors and 18-year-old Dane Nicolai Hojgaard were in the seven-strong chasing pack following rounds of five-under-par 67.
Sergio Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion and 15-time European Tour winner, led another group of seven players including Scott Jamieson who are sitting one shot further adrift.