Sweden’s Alex Noren secured a closing birdie for second straight round of 66 to set the clubhouse target at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
The former Wales Open champion is trying to keep up with his girlfriend Emelie - she won in Norway on his 30th birthday yesterday.
"She sent me some flowers - that's the first time I've had flowers," he said.
Noren started with back-to-back birdies, double bogeyed the long 12th, then hit back with three further gains and an eagle at the par five sixth.
His 12 under par total left Noren one ahead of Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez, and overnight leader Francesco Molinari.
The Italian was amongst the later starters and one under through his first five holes.
Phil Mickelson made a brilliant charge through the field at Castle Stuart Golf Links - and Martin Kaymer was back in form too.
Mickelson was down in 123rd place after an opening 73, but made it all the way to joint 11th place with eight birdies in the first 15 holes of his second round.
It was a dramatic way to end a worrying run of eight successive rounds over par - that had never happened in his career before - and suddenly the American star was in contention at an event he entered only on Saturday.
The three-time Masters Tournament champion left his family on holiday in Rome to add another tournament to his schedule before moving onto Royal Lytham, where he will try next week to improve on his joint runner-up finish behind Darren Clarke last year.
Looking for an early boost when he teed off, he did not have to wait long. His 60 yard pitch to the tenth went into the hole for an eagle two.
Mickelson had to wait until the 16th for his next birdie, but then came four in a row around the turn and a pitch to six feet at the long sixth brought him another.
Kaymer, meanwhile, was hitting back from finishing last of those who made the cut at the Alstom Open de France last week.
Resuming on five under he had five birdies in six holes from the 11th and after bogeying the short 17th had two more in the next three.
That took Germany's former World Number One, winner of the title at Loch Lomond three years ago, to 11 under par and alongside Noren and Gonzalez.
Mickelson finished with a 64 - the same score he had to win at Pebble Beach in February while playing partner Tiger Woods was shooting 75.
"I'm really glad I added the tournament and it's very helpful to see my game progress so quickly," Mickelson said as he found himself seven under and five behind
Kaymer fell back to nine under and joint fourth with bogeys at the seventh and ninth for a 68, but given his 78-77 finish in Paris he was happy enough.
The home fans had something to cheer when Pete Whiteford aced the 168 yard 11th, turned in 30 and stood eight under after 13 holes.
That hole-in-one might have been worth 168 bottles of champagne to him, but England's Andrew Johnston claimed that prize yesterday.
Molinari had begun his second round with a bogey, but came back with birdies at the second and third, and when he added another on the long sixth he was alongside Noren at 12 under, one ahead of Gonzalez and two in front of Indian SSP Chowrasia.
World Number One and defending champion Luke Donald matched Molinari's first two birdies to be seven under.