Thomas Levet seized the clubhouse lead during the second round of the Open de España with a five under par 67.
The Frenchman started the day one shot behind Denmark’s Søren Hansen after the Copenhagen golfer's opening 63 had broken the PGA Catalunya course record by one - an hour after Levet had equalled the old mark.
As the first player to tee off in the second round, Levet took the chance to go in front with birdies at the third and fifth.
But Hansen was quick to respond, hitting a five wood to 12 feet for an eagle at the 527 yard 12th, his third. There had been only three eagles there so far in the championship and he had managed two of them.
By adding a birdie at the long 15th Hansen, the only member of last year's European Ryder Cup side not to have qualified for next week's Players Championship in Florida, turned in 33.
Levet matched the Dane’s efforts on the back nine to reach the halfway stage 13 under for the tournament.
Hansen was set to match that as he reached the ninth tee - his last - 13 under, but he suffered a double bogey six to drop into second.
Ireland’s Peter Lawrie is the duo’s nearest challenger after a sizzling inward nine holes.
After starting at the tenth, the defending champion was level par for his round at the turn and four under overall.
But he then struck with four consecutive birdies and, having added two more pars at the fifth and sixth, picked up further shots at the seventh and eighth for a front nine 30 and round of 66 which leaves him ten under ahead of the weekend.
Alejandro Cañizares leads the home challenge after a 69 left him eight under alongside England’s Chris Woods - fifth at The Open Championship as an amateur last year.