Eddie Pepperell was a spectator at Wentworth Club as Luke Donald won his second consecutive BMW PGA Championship last year.
Twelve months on, the English rookie is two shots off the halfway lead in The European Tour's flagship event as Donald headed home to Chicago after missing the halfway cut.
Pepperell birdied the last four holes of his second round to add a 69 to his opening 71, a four under total of 140 leaving him in a share of sixth place behind Italy's Francesco Molinari.
"It's pretty special. I can't remember the last time I've done that, if I've ever done it," the 22 year old said.
"The weather was horrible for the first ten or 11 holes and I hung in there really well."
Pepperell, who only got into the event on Monday, added: "It's amazing. I'm fortunate to be here. When the entry lists came out I didn't think I had a chance if I'm honest, but it's probably the best event I've ever been a part of, so it's great.
"I'm only an hour away so I'm local. Some members from Frilford Heath and Drayton Park have shown up in support and I really appreciate it.
"It's such a shame there's only one event in this country. On a day like today, to have this many fans out I think just says everything you need to know about the English and the way we feel about our golf in this country. It's such a great sport and people love to come and watch you whether it's raining or sunny.
"It's an event I grew up watching every year, even last year, watching Luke Donald hole the final putt."
Pepperell is in his first season on The European Tour after gaining his card via the Challenge Tour last year, but has already been in contention after finishing eighth in the Open de España.
"I was in contention at El Saler and I think it will be relatively similar in the sense that it's a difficult course," he said. "There won't be birdies floating around everywhere.
"I was very nervous (in Spain) just being off in the second to last group with all the people about. It was an amazing experience and I gave myself a chance, so if I can just do the same this weekend that would be amazing."