England's John Parry and Swede Jarmo Sandelin share the halfway lead at the Vivendi Cup 2010.
Parry had been amongst those predicting The European Tour's first 59 this week at Golf de Joyenval after the first round's low scoring but both the Marly and Retz courses fought back as testing conditions prevailed.
The Challenge Tour graduate managed a second round five under par 67 thanks to two closing birdies and he was joined on 13 under par by former Ryder Cup star Sandelin.
The 43 year old, who had to go through Qualifying School last year to retain his card, shot an eagle and four birdies in a bogey free 66.
"I've been playing much better the last three weeks - and this week especially," said Sandelin.
"I haven't had too many bad shots this week so far, so if I can keep it going on like this, I think I will be a happy man at the end of the tournament.
"I'm very busy to this point but I haven't been playing up to the capacity that I know that I have."
Sandelin is 168th on The Race to Dubai and needs to climb into the top 115 to avoid another trip to Qualifying School.
Parry is also precariously placed - he currently occupies 116th but feels his game is coming together at just the right time.
"It was good," said Parry. "I've been playing well for the last couple of weeks, at least trying to put it all together, putt well and hit it well, which is a bit more like it for the first two days."
They were three shots clear of home favourite Julien Guerrier, Australia's Richard Green, South African George Coetzee and Madeira Islands Open BPI - Portugal winner James Morrison.
Guerrier is enjoying a good run of form having made his last eight cuts and recording his best European Tour finish with fifth place at the Czech Open last month.
At 121st on The Race to Dubai he is another with work to do in terms of securing playing privileges for next season, but the 25 year old is confident after another impressive showing.
“It's really nice to play here,” said Guerrier. “It's my first time on the course but it's a good dimension because we don't have a lot of Pro Am, and the access is not like in the French Open but it's still good seeing more and more events here on The European Tour.”
By contrast Morrison is 47th and looking to cement his place in the Dubai World Championship, and the 25 year old believes that may play into his hands over the weekend.
“I love being in the mix,” said the Challenge Tour graduate. “That's where I'm going to play my best golf and every time I've been in contention this year, I've kicked on.
“So going into the weekend, I feel I've got the edge over some people. I've had success and I have exemptions compared to other people.”
Ryder Cup player Padraig Harrington had a double bogey and treble bogey in his round of 64 but birdies on the 16th and 17th holes saw the Irishman make it through to the weekend by one shot.