Scotland's Paul Lawrie joined South African Thomas Aiken out in front at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy following a superb 66.
Lawrie is best remembered, of course, for his 1999 Open Championship win at Carnoustie, but he also won this event that year and he is now looking to end nine years without a victory.
With overnight leader Retief Goosen among the later starters, Lawrie took the opportunity to grab the spotlight by making up for two bogeys with no fewer than eight birdies.
“I played solid tee to green, and putted particularly well,” he said. “I putted nicely yesterday, too.
“I didn't hit the ball very well yesterday and two over was a good effort, and then came out today and kind of holed pretty much everything.”
Aiken, meanwhile, added a bogey-free 69 to his opening 71 to join the Scot on four under, while Goosen birdied his par five opening hole to make it a three-way tie.
“There was definitely a lot less wind,” said Aiken, who was third in last month’s Joburg Open.
“No gusts like yesterday to make club section a lot more difficult. So today was a lot easier to get your way around the course.
“All in all, didn't make any bogeys today, so very pleased with that. It's an extremely demanding course off the tee - if you miss fairways, you really penalize yourself in this rough.
“Very happy with a 69, no bogeys, very consistent and that's the name of the game.”
World Number Two Martin Kaymer needed a big improvement on his first day 77 to survive to the weekend and a 70 for three over was probably going to be just enough.
But Kaymer, the runaway winner in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, was still a long way off the second place he required to have a chance of taking the number one spot off Lee Westwood.
As for Westwood himself, he was another late starter and teed off again on one over.
The lead on the course moved to five under as both Goosen and Austrian Markus Brier moved to that mark with eight holes still to play.
Goosen regained the outright lead with further birdies on the 11th and 12th, but bogeyed two holes later and at six under fell back alongside Brier, while Dane Thomas Björn was only one behind and needed to birdie the par five 18th for a brilliant 64.
Westwood remained five over with four to play and almost certainly required two birdies to survive.