Aaron Baddeley's six-under 65 propelled him into a tie with Jonathan Byrd for the lead at the PGA BMW Championship, with Tiger Woods sitting just one shot back.
The 26-year-old Australian, who is seeking his second victory of the year, had eight birdies in the second round of the US$7 million event at the Cog Hill Golf and Country Club course on Friday.
"It's a confidence booster when you're playing that well," Baddeley said. "You always like to go ahead and finish off the week with a win. If you keep giving yourself opportunities, you're going to win your fair share of events."
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Woods couldn't quite put all aspects of his game together.
"I started out hitting it just great and felt so bad over my putts," he said after a 67. "All of a sudden I lost my swing in the middle of the round and felt great over my putts."
US player Steve Stricker was tied with Woods in a group of four on eight-under 134 through 36 holes. Stricker shot a 66 that included a double-bogey. England's Justin Rose and Colombia's Camilo Villegas both fired 69 to join Woods and Stricker.
"I'm happy with the day's work," Rose said. "I hit a lot of quality shots. I'm right where I need to be after two rounds.
"It's nice to get back on the horse," said Rose, who missed the cut last week. "Last week was disappointing, so it's nice to get some confidence going straight away."
Rose's round was highlighted by an unlikely eagle at the par-four 15th, his sixth hole, where he holed a 24m bunker shot.
Stricker's double-bogey came at the par-four third, where he drove into the left rough and caught a tree branch with his second shot.
"I had one little branch," he said. "I figured if I go over or under, it really didn't matter. What are my odds of hitting that thing and, sure enough, I hit it dead square and it fell straight down into a worse lie.
"I was disappointed, but what's been better about my game lately is that I'll kind of let that stuff roll off my back and keep going and not really get down," he said.
"I feel I'm playing well enough to make some birdies on the way in," he said.
This event is the third in the new four-tournament FedEx Cup playoff series. Only the top 30 players in the points standings will advance to next week's Tour Championship.
Phil Mickelson, who led the standings at the start of the week from Woods and Stricker, elected not to play this week and so will lose some ground, but it remains to be seen how much damage will be done to his playoff hopes.
Woods skipped the first event of the series, but remains well in the running to win the US$10 million prize awarded to the points leader after the Tour Championship.