Francesco Molinari set the clubhouse target midway through the second round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.
The Italian Ryder Cup star birdied the 18th from 20 feet to complete a 68 for a six under par halfway total of 138.
Scotland's Marc Warren was also six under with four holes to play alongside first round leader James Kingston, who was among the later starters.
Molinari, whose halved match with Tiger Woods at Medinah sealed Europe's remarkable victory in Chicago, began his second round with a bogey and also dropped shots at the tenth and 16th, but also carded seven birdies on a course where he finished seventh last year.
Molinari, who was born in Turin but is now based in London, said: "I'm really happy with yesterday and today. The conditions were quite tough but I hit the ball well and the putter is working well so I am really happy at the moment.
"Six under is a good score given the conditions - I live over here now so I am used to it - and I'm in a great position going into the weekend, but it's a really tough course so anyone six or seven behind is still in it."
Ryder Cup team-mate Lee Westwood and Open Champion Ernie Els - playing alongside Molinari - are only three off the lead on three under after rounds of 71 and 69 respectively.
Westwood was pleased with his improvement round the greens, the 40 year old saying: "My short game's been red hot. I played some nice pitches and walking off the back of the 12th green, where I pitched that shot to about four feet, Ernie said, 'Bit of a short game wizard now.'"
"I also got up and down on 18 after hitting it in the hazard and those sorts of things can make a big difference to your week and going into the weekend with momentum. If my long game starts to come together, I could be dangerous."
Sergio Garcia is just five shots off the lead after a 71, with Nicolas Colsaerts a shot better off after a 70.