Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, with only one top-10 finish in the past year, leads the Reale Seguros Spanish Open at the halfway stage in Seville.
A best-of-the-week 66, rounded off with four birdies in the last six holes, took the 30-year-old from Bordeaux to five under par after he had resumed down in 37th place.
In stark contrast, overnight leader Shaun Micheel managed only a 77, but that was still three better than Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The 48-year-old had never previously failed to break 80 in his national championship – and he made his debut back in 1988.
Scots Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie were two more to miss the halfway cut, Lawrie’s exit completing an unhappy week after he missed a flight connection and lost his luggage.
Bourdy is one in front of Yorkshire’s Simon Dyson and Robert Rock, 19-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero and Jorge Campillo – now the leading home hope on the 100th anniversary of the event’s launch.
Despite the tough conditions – wind, dense rough and bumpy greens – the leader has not shot lower since last November.
“I’ve just been patient,” Bourdy said. “I’ve not made a score like that for a long time in these conditions. It’s good for the confidence.”
Dyson finished his 69 with a 12-footer for eagle with his new belly putter.
“It appeared to bobble and I started walking, but it kept going and dropped,” the Irish Open champion said.
“I switched because I’ve just not been holing out well. It’s harder to get the pace, but I start it on the right line more consistently.” Manassero and Rock shot 70 and 72 respectively as they continued their bids for third European Tour wins.
Rock, who beat Tiger Woods and world top three Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood in Abu Dhabi in January, has returned this week from a five-week break.
He led after starting with a birdie, but mixed three bogeys with two more birdies after that.
Former US PGA champion Micheel would happily have taken that. There was a hat-trick of birdies from the 12th on his card, but also two double bogeys and three closing bogeys as he fell five behind.
Former French Open champion Graeme Storm had not dropped all day until he came to his last two holes, but bogeyed them both to be two behind Bourdy and alongside Sheffield’s Danny Willett and Italy’s Francesco Molinari.
A record 1,364 players have entered for the US Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin on July 5-8. It is 68 more than the previous highest figure. The youngest is 11-year-old Californian Elizabeth Wang.