Swede Alex Noren took over at the top of the Castelló Masters with a superb 63 at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo.
As last week's winner Tom Lewis pulled out after suffering from a virus, Noren raced to ten under par as he seeks a third win of the season.
Lewis’ decision to withdraw left tournament host Sergio Garcia and defending champion Matteo Manassero to play on their own in the second round.
Garcia resumed this afternoon four under par and Manassero two under. They both had their work cut out to catch Noren, who grabbed eight birdies in his round.
The 29 year old from Stockholm led by two from overnight pacesetter Ross McGowan, who recovered from two early bogeys to add a 70 to his opening 64, with fellow Englishman Richard McEvoy and Scot Richie Ramsay - also round in 63 - one further back in joint third.
"It didn't feel that good on the range, but I found my swing early on," said Noren.
"I kept fading it all day and holed a lot of putts. I played probably the best I've ever played on the front nine - I had a lot of chances."
Only 163rd on The Race to Dubai and needing to climb into the top 115 to retain his card, McGowan hit back from his poor start with birdies at the fourth, eighth and 11th.
Colin Montgomerie and José María Olazábal, past and present Ryder Cup Captains, were down on two over and four over respectively and both were likely to miss the halfway cut, although Montgomerie was only one outside the expected mark.
Former Open Champion John Daly improved to one over with a 70 and, like the Scot, had to wait to discover his fate.
Noren's lead was trimmed to one when Garcia, playing on his home course and a former winner of the title, hit back from a bogey six at the fourth with an eagle and three birdies in the next seven holes.
McGowan, meanwhile, was joined on eight under when Scot Gary Orr recorded a second successive 67 and both South African George Coetzee and Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti were on the same mark.