Finland’s Mikko Ilonen stormed into a two shot clubhouse lead during the second round of the Portugal Masters with a four under par 68.
But on the course Robert Karlsson got off to a flying start to join Ilonen on 11 under par.
Former Indonesia Open and Scandinavian Masters champion Ilonen added to his opening 65 with four birdies.
Having trailed Karlsson, Johan Edfors and Maarten Lafeber by one overnight and parred his first nine holes, before birdieing the tenth and 12th.
He then took the lead with a simple five foot conversion at the 14th before completing his scoring at the next.
“I think I ended up having about 32 putts today, hit 17 greens,” said Ilonen. “And I did hole some good putts yesterday, so that was the difference today, three shots. But I'm quite happy how I played today - so still a good score.”
Karlsson was also 11 under after recording a hattrick of birdies from the second for the second day running.
And Lafeber was only one off the pace after eagling the 358 yard second.
Closest to Ilonen in the clubhouse was England’s Richard Finch, who moved to nine under par courtesy of a seven under par 65.
“There's certainly tough holes out there and if you can keep your bogeys off the card, hopefully pick up a few birdies on the way in and that's what I managed to do today so delighted with it,” said the former 3 Irish Open winner.
Ryder Cup hero Francesco Molinari made the big move of the day, shooting a wonderful 62 to climb to within three shots of the lead.
The Italian shot five birdies on the way out and another five coming back to improve on his opening two over 74.
“It was definitely different from yesterday, and you know, I was really upset last night because I've been hitting the ball quite well the last two weeks,” he said.
“But I really wasn't there with the mind and I wasn't focussed enough on the game. And today, I think, it was good to be upset yesterday because I started really strong and I kept focussed for 18 holes and luckily all of the putts were dropping and it was a very nice feeling.”