Martin Kaymer has given himself the chance to regain the number one spot in The Race to Dubai at his first event back from breaking toes in a go-kart crash.
Out since mid-August and not able to start practising fully until the last few days, the 24 year old shares the clubhouse lead with Australian Robert Allenby after the second day of the CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar in Spain.
"Maybe he's the bionic man," Allenby said of the German, who will have titanium plates and screws in his foot for another nine months.
Top of The Race to Dubai when the accident happened, Kaymer is now down to third, but the first prize on Sunday would instantly take him back above Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy.
He did admit, however, that he was feeling it after having to play 24 holes following a three-hour stoppage for strong winds on the opening day.
First the Open de France ALSTOM and Barclays Scottish Open champion completed an opening eight under par 63 - "I was never expecting to be under 70 to be honest," he stated - and shared top spot with defending champion Sergio Garcia.
Then he went out again and added a 67 for a 12 under par total matched by Allenby with a 66.
Garcia, playing on his home course, was among those unable to finish as the tournament tried to make up for lost time and will resume in the morning on 11 under with three to play.
Double Masters Tournament champion José Maria Olazábal and Indian Shiv Kapur are two behind.
"It does not affect my swing, but I was in a lot of pain the last few holes," added Kaymer. "But my expectations were not high, so it worked out pretty well.
"I'll put some ice on it now and take it easy. The doctor told me to avoid long walks and that I won't be 100 per cent for a year."
Allenby, a four-time winner in Europe before moving to America over a decade ago, rejoined this season for the inaugural Race to Dubai and is already 33rd from just ten starts.
He birdied his last two holes to move alongside Kaymer.
Also going well is Italian Emanuele Canonica and England’s Sam Hutsby at nine under, while England's John E Morgan is in contention in his first event since he broke a toe stubbing it on the end of his bed just over a month ago.
The 31 year old, down in 195th place and needing a top two finish to guarantee his European Tour card, is four behind at halfway.
On the same mark are former Ryder Cup Scot Andrew Coltart and England's Benn Barham and Miles Tunnicliff, all three of them are also looking to move into the top 115.
Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie is five under with four holes remaining and Darren Clarke one further back, but Chris Wood, third in The Open Championship in July, withdrew after an opening 70 with a twisted ankle suffered falling down the clubhouse steps and Welshman Stephen Dodd also retired at three over with four to play.
The cut looks like falling at either one or two under.