The rise and rise of Edoardo Molinari continued when he led the Omega European Masters midway through the second round in Switzerland.
Two behind his 17 year old fellow Italian Matteo Manassero overnight, Molinari was the first of the pair back on the Crans-sur-Sierre course and added a 65 to his opening 66.
On 11 under par - and still to record his first bogey - The Ryder Cup newcomer was one ahead of Finn Mikko Ilonen and two in front of England's Graeme Storm.
Molinari also beat playing partner Greg Norman by 19 strokes, the 55 year old Australian managing only two rounds of 75 in his first tournament since shoulder surgery last September.
"I think I played very well," said the Turin 29 year old, playing his last event before his cup debut at The Celtic Manor Resort from October 1-3.
"The greens were much better and I made my fair share of putts. It was a very controlled and solid round."
He birdied four of his first six holes in covering the back nine in 31 and started for home with two more, but had to be content with seven closing pars.
Molinari is seeking his third victory of the season and his second in a row, of course, after the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles on Sunday which was followed an hour later by Colin Montgomerie making him one of his three wild cards.
Ilonen caught him with birdies at the 16th and 17th, but went over the final green and by recording his first bogey of the week signed for a 67.
"I thought I had better chances today," he said. "But maybe after a couple of hours, I'll sit down and think about where I can improve. There's definitely room for it as I'm not driving the ball as well as I would like to."
Storm had gone clear with four birdies in his first five at the start of the day, then had four bogeys around the turn before hitting back with an eagle on the long 14th and birdie two holes later.
"The difference is that I've holed more putts this week," said Storm. "I've been playing well enough. I withdrew at Wentworth because I was ill but I haven't missed a cut since then but I haven't managed to capitalise on my decent play."
Manassero, the youngest player ever to lead a European Tour outright at the completion of a round, picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Molinari.
The teenager birdied three of the first four holes and joined Ilonen in second place on ten under, only one behind.
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