David Lipsky and Sean Crocker share the halfway lead in the Hassan Trophy as American players continued to enjoy a brilliant season on the European Tour.
Lipsky produced one of the best rounds of the day in testing, windy conditions, a three-under-par 70 at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam leaving him alongside Crocker on five under par.
Crocker, who was born in Zimbabwe but is a naturalised American, added a 74 to his opening 67 to finish a shot ahead of compatriot Julian Suri, Australia’s Dimitrios Papadatos and the English pair of Lee Slattery and Jordan Smith.
Smith held the overnight lead following an opening 66 but struggled to a 76 on Friday which contained five bogeys and just two birdies.
American players have won eight of the 18 tournaments contested on the European Tour this season, with Lipsky’s good friend Kurt Kitayama getting the ball rolling in Mauritius and Lipsky himself winning in South Africa in December.
Since then, Kitayama won again in Oman, Dustin Johnson has claimed a brace of wins and Bryson DeChambeau, Kevin Kisner and Masters champion Tiger Woods have all tasted victory on the tour.
“Bryson and DJ have come out and played well and they’re some of the best players in the world,” Lipsky said. “What Kurt and I have been doing has been playing pretty solid.
“It’s become more comfortable out here, Americans are more open to coming out, travelling, playing more and it’s great to have friends out here.
“I played really solid today. It’s tough on that back nine when the wind picked up and the greens firmed up so I’m really happy with where I’m at. We’re going into the weekend looking pretty good.”
Suri looked poised to hold the outright lead at six under before finding the water on the ninth, his final hole, to run up a double bogey, but was still pleased with a 71 in very tough conditions.
“It was a really solid round,” he said. “Still in position to contend for this thing. I hit a lot of good shots and obviously I had one kind of blemish on my last hole today. For the most part I’m pretty pleased with where my game’s at.”
Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher, who had an albatross in his opening 68, slumped to a second round of 82 to fall nine shots off the lead.
All three Irish players made the weekend. Michael Hoey is best placed on one over after a round of 73 with Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan a shot further back after rounds of 75 and 74 respectively.