Frenchman Gregory Bourdy enjoys a one-shot lead over England's Mark Foster after the second round of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush.
Bourdy lies 12 under and Foster 11 under after both players posted 67s.
Padraig Harrington is one of three players on 10 under, with first-round leader Jeev Milkha Singh eight under.
Rory McIlroy (69) and Graeme McDowell (68) have ground to make up as both lie on five under, while Darren Clarke is four under after a round of 69.
Bourdy had shared the overnight lead with Singh and played the outward nine in just 31 strokes on Friday.
He eagled the 528-yard second hole and progressed to 13 under after 10 holes thanks to a series of birdies.
The 30-year-old dropped shots at the par-three 11th and 14th holes but a birdie at the 17th and an important par at the last saw him remain unchallenged at the top of the leaderboard.
Italian Lorenzo Gagli had started the tournament with a 68 but packed eight birdies into his first 13 holes on Friday morning.
He bogeyed the 14th however and a round of 66 saw him move to 10 under after two rounds.
Meanwhile a run of five successive birdies helped Jamie Donaldson finish on nine under following a 67.
McIlroy and Clarke were also among the early starters and again attracted the largest galleries among the capacity 27,000 spectators.
World number two McIlroy made the start he was hoping for after lying tied for 53rd after day one as he posted birdies at two of his first three holes.
Three further birdies and two bogeys followed as the Holywood man remained in touch with the leaders ahead of the weekend.
Clarke, returning to action after a month out to rest a groin strain, birdied the 10th, his first hole of the day, and then made a birdie two at the 14th.
The Dungannon man ended his round with a 20-foot birdie to ensure that he made a halfway cut for the first time this season.
Harrington was among the afternoon starters and the Dubliner recorded a second successive 67, with the help of a long birdie on the 17th.
Foster carded five birdies in a bogey-free round to move to within one of Bourdy while Paul Waring signed for an impressive 65 to finish joint third on 10 under.
A dropped shot at the last saw Swede Mikael Lundberg fall to nine under, but Singh enjoyed a better end to his round as a birdie kept him in the running.
McDowell looked like he may struggle to make the cut after bogeying two of his first three holes, but five birdies, including a three at the last, saw him comfortably into the last two days.
Belfast man Michael Hoey and Francesco Molinari are among the players on seven under, while defending champion Simon Dyson is five under.
Paul McGinley fired a 70, including an eagle at the 10th and birdies at the 12th and 13th, to lie five under.
Former Ryder Cup captain and multiple European Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie missed the cut on two over.
USPGA champion Keegan Bradley bowed out on level par as he only improved by two strokes on his opening 73.