Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari hold a share of the lead at the halfway mark in the World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Garcia and Molinari were two shots adrift of overnight leader Lee Westwood at the start of the day, but five-under rounds of 67 moved them out in front on nine under at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Westwood is just a shot off the pace and would have started the weekend in a three-way tie at the top but for a bogey at the 18th.
Garcia also dropped just a solitary shot at 13, with three birdies on the front nine and as many after the turn giving the Spaniard a great chance of claiming a first European Tour title for two years.
Molinari has been in red hot form at the back end of the season, winning the Italian Open on home soil and finishing joint-sixth in the WGC-HSBC Champions last time out.
The 34-year-old is now 45 under in his last 10 rounds after coming up with six birdies - including three in a row on the back nine - and dropping just one shot at the 10th to match Garcia on the Earth Course.
Westwood found the water with his second shot at the last to slip back, while a brilliant six-under 66 from Tyrrell Hatton put him a further shot back along with Bernd Wiesberger, Charl Schwartzel and Joost Luiten.
It is still advantage Henrik Stenson in the Race to Dubai after the Open champion signed for 69 following an eventful round to move to three under.
Stenson struck a female spectator on the head with an errant iron shot and was baffled when somebody picked his ball up on the second hole in a round which included four birdies to leave him six shots off the lead.
Alex Noren is a shot better off then Stenson, but needs a top-two finish and his compatriot to falter in order to be crowned European number one, while Danny Willett is also on three under.
Current European number one Rory McIlroy responded to a poor first round of 75 with a 68 and will tee off on Saturday at one under.