Frenchman Grégory Bourdy turned the form book on its head to lead the Reale Seguros Open de España at the halfway stage in Seville.
With only one top-ten finish in his last 24 European Tour events, the 30 year old from Bordeaux carded a best-of-the-week 66.
With four birdies in the last six holes Bourdy climbed to five under par after he had resumed down in 37th place.
In stark contrast, overnight leader Shaun Micheel managed only a 77 as the 2003 US PGA Champion slipped back to level par.
Bourdy is one in front of England's Simon Dyson and Robert Rock, 19 year old Italian Matteo Manassero and Jorge Campillo, now the leading home hope on the 100th anniversary of the event's launch.
Despite the tough conditions - which included wind and dense rough - the leader has not shot lower since last November.
"I've just been patient," said Bourdy. "I've not made a score like that for a long time in these conditions. It's good for the confidence.
“I’m very happy about this round, particularly in these conditions. I made eight birdies and just two bogeys.
“Yesterday one over was not so bad in that wind, but today I played really well, I felt comfortable and very solid, very consistent and I also made some important putts, so I’ll try to keep going like this.”
Dyson finished his 69 with a 12 footer for eagle with his new belly putter.
"It appeared to bobble and I started walking, but it kept going and dropped," said the reigning Irish Open champion.
"I switched because I've just not been holing out well. It's harder to get the pace, but I start it on the right line more consistently."
Manassero and Rock shot 70 and 72 respectively as they continued their bids for third European Tour wins.
“It wasn’t an easy day and I’m happy because I didn’t really play that well but managed to score,” said Manassero.
“Today I took the right side of the draw. Early morning we just had a little breeze and it’s certainly going to be more difficult in the afternoon.
“I didn’t play really well, but never put myself in serious trouble. I’ve scrambled well, I made some good up and downs at the beginning of my back nine, but the last four or five holes I started playing very good golf well and that gives me some confidence.
“I’m really happy to be in contention, to be around the lead, and we shall see what happens.”
Rock, who beat Tiger Woods and world top three Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood in Abu Dhabi in January, has returned this week from a five-week break.
He led after starting with a birdie, but mixed three bogeys with two more birdies after that.
American Micheel would happily have taken that. There was a hat-trick of birdies from the 12th on his card, but also two double bogeys and three closing bogeys as he fell five behind.
Former French Open champion Graeme Storm had not dropped all day until he came to his last two holes, but bogeyed them both to be two behind Bourdy and alongside fellow Englishman Danny Willett, Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Italy's Francesco Molinari.