Oskar Henningsson, Len Mattiace and Robert Rock share the halfway lead at the Alfred Dunhill Championship after reaching 11 under par after the second round at Leopard Creek Golf Club in South Africa.
All three players built on their impressive opening rounds as they opened up a one shot lead over home favourite Richard Sterne, with five players a shot further back at nine under.
Mattiace - who led with Sweden`s Michael Jonzon overnight - added a 68 to his opening 65 with a bogey free round as the American, who lost a play-off to Mike Weir at the 2003 Masters Tournament, seeks a first win on The European Tour.
England`s Rock had opened with a 66 but was only level par at the turn. However, he birdied five of his last six holes to storm into a share of the lead.
Speaking afterward, the Staffordshire golfer praised the course at Malelane as one he really favoured.
“I just like the course here, I like the holes,” he said. “I like the way the ball sits on the fairways as well. It suits the way I play my iron shots and the greens are great.
“I didn’t really putt that well. The back nine was similar to yesterday really. The front nine is tougher and I didn’t particularly play that well. But the driving has been the key so far really and that’s left me in a good position on every hole.”
Swede Henningsson, whp won The European Tour Qualifying School in Spain last month to secure his place on Tour, produced the best round of the day, an eight under par 64, with four birdies on the front nine and four more on the way back without a bogey.
South African 27 year old Sterne is a stroke clear of Zimbabwe`s Marc Cayeux, Swede Johan Edfors, England`s John E Morgan and compatriots Tyrone Mordt and Charl Schwartzel after compiling a six under par second round 66 as he looks to become the first home winner of the event since Ernie Els three years ago.
Sterne started on the tenth and soon raced to six under for the day with an eagle at the par five 13th and four straight birdies from the 14th.
His round threatened to unravel when he posted a triple bogey eight at the 18th, but he recovered with three birdies on the front nine.
“It was quite a special round, obviously,” he said. “I had a little hiccup somewhere but it was all pretty good, pretty decent. I was never really in trouble.
“I made a lot of good putts on the back nine, which was my front nine today, six in a row or something, and that got things going, and then I played well on the front nine again after 18. I went three under and no mistakes.”
Swede Edfors posted a three under par round of 69 to move to nine under at the halfway stage, and was joined by local favourites Mordt and Schwartzel.
Edfors had produced a bogey free 66 in the opening round but although he dropped shots at the seventh, 13th and 17th in his second round six birdies ensured he remained in contention for a first European Tour title since The Barclays Scottish Open in 2006.
Mordt started at the tenth tee and was level par for his round after nine holes.
But he fired six birdies - four of them on consecutive holes from the par three fifth - and a single bogey to post a front nine 30 on the way in.
Schwartzel - who won the event in 2005 - added a 67 to his opening 68, while Morgan carded five birdies and a single bogey on his way to a 68.
Cayeux is without a win on The European Tour since 2004 but is firmly in the frame thanks to a 67.