Frenchman Charles-Edouard Russo took advantage of the calm early conditions to post a course-record eight under par 64 and move to the top of the leaderboard in the second round of the KPMG Trophy.
The 34 year old teed off from the tenth at Golf de Pierpont and started with four consecutive birdies, then added two more at the 15th and 17th to reach the turn in 30.
Two more gains on the front nine lifted him to nine under par overall, two clear of England’s James Heath and Australian Geoffrey Drakeford.
“I had to wake up very early this morning for my tee time, and it was a great start,” said Russo, who has never won on the Challenge Tour. “Yesterday I played really well because the conditions were so tough. It was so windy and the course was playing so firm, so I was very happy with one under.
“I missed a few putts yesterday that I should have made, but this morning I was holing the putts and I was also much better with my approaches and my chipping.
“For the last year and a half I’ve been working so hard on everything, and this is the first week it has really all come together.
"It’s nice to see the hard work paying off, because it’s so frustrating when nothing happens.
“In the last month I’ve been really trying to stay calmer on the course. Whether I hit a bad shot or a good shot, I stay in the same mood and just try to do my best.”
Heath played the back nine in five under par thanks to three birdies and an eagle, at the 17th, and credited the help of his girlfriend.
“I had a trolley that kept veering off to the right and I was getting quite tired, so luckily my girlfriend came on the bag for the back nine,” he said. “It seemed to work.
“I’m just trying to get into contention as much as I can and learn from the experience.
I was in the mix a couple of weeks ago and didn’t handle it that well, but I’ve learned from it and feel like I’m ready for it again.”
Scotland’s Jamie McLeary made early progress thanks to a hole-in-one at the par three 13th, finishing with a five under par 67 to move to six under overall.
“That was my seventh in total but first one for 11 years,” he said. “The last three have all been with my eight iron, and also with that club I holed out twice in a row from the fairway a couple of years ago. I was playing a practice round and hit two approaches and holed them both.
“I had a horse-shoe and three lip-outs today so I was due some luck. I played really well and I’m happy I’ve moved up the board a bit.”