The 43-year-old Toms, coming off a first-round 64, had a 10-under 130 total on the Sea Island Club's Seaside Course, hitting 16 of 18 greens in regulation in the second round. He has won eight of his 12 PGA Tour titles from the midsummer to the fall and nine in southern venues.
"Here we are again, in the South and on Bermuda grass, and it's going pretty well," said Toms, the 2001 PGA champion and a native of Monroe, La.
"David is one of my great friends out here, and he's certainly playing well," said Durant, looking forward to a third-round pairing with Toms. "It helps your game when the other guy is swinging the club well."
Toms has won tournaments in his home state of Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
"Maybe it's the warm weather ... growing up in the South, when it was cold I probably went hunting or something else. I didn't play a whole lot of golf in bad weather," Toms said.
Toms shook off bogeys on the 10th and 14th holes to take the lead with a tap-in birdie putt at the par-5 15th and a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-4 16th.
The 46-year-old Durant had a bogey-free round, holing a 20-footer for par on his final hole, the par-4 ninth. He has made only one bogey, at the 14th hole Thursday, and has missed only three fairways and four greens the first two days.
Neither Toms nor Durant have won since 2006. Toms won the second tournament of the schedule that year in Hawaii, while Durant won the last, at Disney World.
The big difference between the two is that Toms remains assured of his PGA Tour card for the 2011 season, based on his standing on the money list (58th). Durant is 131st and must climb into the top 125 by the end of the season to regain full status.
He admitted he doesn't want to carry the same workload that he did at a younger age.
"I want to win again," said Durant, from Pensacola, Fla. "That's why I'm out here. I want to win tournaments and I want to contend but the days of me playing 28 tournaments a year are gone."