England's Matt Wallace and Australia's Marcus Fraser are joint leaders on 13 under going into the weekend of the Italian Open.
Wallace had a six-way share of the lead after the first round and solidified his place at the top with a 65 at Golf Club Milano on Friday.
But Fraser was the star of the day, shooting a career-best 62 to earn his place at the summit with a blemish-free card of nine under par.
Paul Dunne enjoyed another solid day in Italy but is well off the white-hot pace set by Wallace and Fraser, after a second round of 69.
Dunne had a mixed day on Friday, with his three birdies cancelled out by three bogeys - however an eagle three on the 14th ensured he signed for another under par round.
After his opening 67 Dunne now sits on six under par and seven shots off the lead, and is just about in contention heading into the weekend.
It was a poor day for Shane Lowry however, as a level par round of 71 saw him finish on two under par - two strokes away from making the cut.
Lowry struggled to find any consistency, with five birdies and five bogeys making for an ugly-loking scorecard.
Padraig Harrington is also heading home before the weekend despite an improved second round - his 69 on Friday left him at level par and four strokes off the cut.
However a second successive 69 means Graeme McDowell lives to fight another day - he is four under par for the tournament heading into Saturday’s third round.
Meanwhile Wales’ Jamie Donaldson and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat lie two shots off the leading pair after hitting matching 67s, both men capping their card with eagle threes, at the ninth and 14 respectively.
Defending champion and home favourite Francesco Molinari was also circling the business end of the leaderboard, sitting three strokes back on 10 under.
Molinari was among the day one leaders but while he picked up six birdies, his charge was tempered by three bogeys.
Master champion Sergio Garcia heads a five-strong group tied for sixth, with Oxford's Eddie Pepperell in the same grouping.
Fraser, who put together a streak of five successive birdies between holes eight and 12, told EuropeanTour.com: “I felt like I’ve putted well and scrambled well this week. Today I took it to a new level with the putter.
“I felt like I putted well yesterday and I probably out-did it today. I’m pretty proud of myself and it’s quite reassuring that I still can play golf!”
Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn was among those set to miss the projected cut of two under, a fate shared by the elder Molinari brother, Edoardo, Martin Kaymer, Oliver Fisher, Padraig Harrington and Danny Willett.
Meanwhile American Pat Perez claimed the lead in the CIMB Classic with a seven under par round of 65 despite delays for bad weather in Kuala Lumpur.
Perez, who had been two shots off the lead following a first round 66, hit eight birdies after starting his round on the 10th tee.
Twice a winner on the PGA Tour, he turned in 35 but it was from then on that his round really came together in Malaysia. After a birdie on the second he then picked up shots at the following three holes to lie 11 under.
A birdie on the par three eighth followed by another on the ninth, his final hole, saw Perez finish the day seven under par and one shot clear of the field.
South Korea's Sung Kang shot 68 to finish the day on nine under, tied in third with round one leader Cameron Smith and Belgium's Thomas Pieters.
American Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner, scored 71 to lie sixth, one shot ahead of Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello.
US PGA champion Justin Thomas, winner of the event for the past two years, followed his opening round 70 with a 71 to lie three under and in a tie for 33rd.
Thomas had another mixed round as five birdies were contrasted by two bogeys and a double bogey six on the 12th.