Hideto Tanihara has a two shot lead after the European Masters second round on Friday, shooting a bogey-free 4-under 66.
The Japanese player produced a strong round that had four birdies to get 9-under 131.
He is two strokes clear of defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, while American Doug Ghim and and Lucas Bjerregaard are also in the mix.
Fitzpatrick hit seven birdies in a 10-hole span and another at the par-4 18th. That meant the former Ryder Cup team member had the day's lowest score of 64 on the course.
Meanwhile Ghim, who only turned professional in June, shot a 65 late in the day to join Fitzpatrick and Bjerregaard.
Danny Willett (66), an early starter on the day, found himself in a group at 6 under, trailing Tanihara by three.
Tanihara, who has 14 titles in his native Japan, has never won on the European tour.
Overnight leader Maximilian Kieffer fell off meanwhile, having a 1-over 71 to be in a seven-man group on 5 under.
John Daly shot a 75 to follow his 77 on Thursday and missed the cut by 13 shots.