Nino Bertasio put himself in firm contention for a maiden European Tour title as he claimed a one-stroke lead at the midway point of the Portugal Masters.
The Italian carded a second successive 65 at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura to move to 12 under par.
Bertasio has just three top-10 finishes in his 61 European Tour appearances, but was flawless on Friday as he carded six birdies to move ahead of Lucas Bjerregaard and Marc Warren.
Bjerregaard matched Bertasio's six-under effort, while Warren posted the second lowest score of the day with a seven-under 64.
Warren's round was only bettered by that of Thomas Aiken, who recovered magnificently from a two-over 73 on Thursday with an eight-under 63, blighted only by bogeys at the third and the 17th.
Joost Luiten and Jason Scrivener also stayed in the hunt on 10 under. George Coetzee, who shared the overnight lead with Luiten, heads a quintet of players three off the pace.
Thomas Pieters, the highest ranked player competing at the event, only just made the cut as his 70 took him to three under.
Andy Sullivan was the only one of the eight players from inside the world's top 100 to miss the cut as three bogeys and a double at the par-five 12th saw him card a 71, the Englishman finishing level par for the tournament.