Peter Hanson’s brilliant second round 64 gave the Swede a two shot lead over World Number One Rory McIlroy at the halfway stage of the BMW Masters in Shanghai.
McIlroy turned on the style, yet still could not catch his Ryder Cup teammate at Lake Malaren.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson started the day four clear, but followed his opening course record 62 with a 74 to fall six behind.
McIlroy grabbed seven birdies for a 65 that lifted him to 12 under, only for 35 year old Hanson to produce nine as he reached 14 under par.
They have opened up a gap with the rest of the star-studded field. Hanson's compatriot Robert Karlsson is three strokes further back in third after he also shot 64 to burst out of the pack.
Hanson actually began his day's work with a bogey. But then came a brilliant display of iron play as he birdied the long third then struck an approach to four feet at the fifth to spark a run of four in successive gains.
Having turned in 32, he holed a six footer for birdie at the 11th, holed from half the distance at the short 12th after a magnificent tee shot, chipped to two feet at the long next then let his putter do the work on the 15th as he rolled in a 20 footer.
“It's amazing how many good rounds come together after a bogey on the first,” he said.
“It's pretty soft so you can see yourself shooting some low scores here. I'm happy with the way I played so far and I know it's going to be a tough one coming up against the World Number One these last couple of days on a golf course he obviously loves. He won here last year.”
The five-time European Tour winner now faces a head-to-head battle with a player who won the Shanghai Masters on the same Lake Malaren course 12 months ago and is seeking his fifth victory of the season.
McIlroy turned in 32, picking up shots at the second, third, eighth and ninth, and then had a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th on another day of low scoring.
“It was a very good day,” said the US PGA Champion. “I played very well - a little better than I did yesterday. I hit the ball a lot better, and gave myself plenty of opportunities.
“When I did need to make a par putt here or there, I was able to save those, and overall it was just a very good round of golf and obviously in a great position going into the weekend.”
Ireland's Shane Lowry, winner of the Portugal Masters two weeks ago, also recorded a 64 and leapt from 48th to joint fourth with Justin Rose, another of the Medinah heroes, Donaldson and another Swede, Alex Noren.
Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer and Nicolas Colsaerts - three more of the European side - are among those one further back on seven under, but Olazábal himself slipped from fourth to 21st with a 72.