Charl Schwartzel fired a brilliant 64 to catapult himself into contention heading into the weekend at the Tshwane Open.
The ten-time European Tour winner had opened with a disappointing 71 but an eagle and four birdies on Friday fired him up the leaderboard and he will head into round three just two shots behind leader Anthony Michael.
South African Michael battled his way to a 69 in the morning on another day of tough scoring at Pretoria Country Club and nobody could get past his seven under par total.
But countryman Schwartzel, already a winner this season at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, stole the show in the afternoon, and not even an hour and 37 minute weather delay late in the day could derail the 31 year old, who had to return to par the last upon the resumption.
Michael is playing in just his 22nd European Tour event but finished in a tie for second at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in the 2011 season and was named Rookie of the Year on The Sunshine Tour in 2010.
Schwartzel by contrast has those ten wins, including the 2011 Masters Tournament, and seven of his victories have come in his home country.
He had birdies on the first and ninth but his round came to life on the par five 12th as he reached the green with a driver and a three iron before rolling a 15-footer up the hill for eagle.
Another birdie followed on the next and when he chipped in on the 15th, Schwartzel was five under.
"I'm very, very pleased with the way I hit the golf ball today," he said. "It was a massive improvement to a few months ago.
I hit it beautifully today, had so many chances and the course is playing really difficult. It wasn't easy - Charl Schwartzel
"I didn't putt very well today, but I hit the ball beautifully.
"The greens are very difficult to read, and I didn't hit a lot of bad putts but it's frustrating when you miss six-footers and still shoot 64."
Michael turned in 33 but a bogey on the 11th dropped him back before he drained a brilliant long right-to-lefter on the 15th to get to eight under.
A disappointing bogey on the gettable 17th was to follow, but he had done enough to take the lead.
It was a bit tough out there today. The greens were a little bit firmer, the breeze was a little bit tricky so I'll definitely take that 69 - Anthony Michael
"I left a couple out there but made a few clutch putts so it was definitely steady putting.
"The breeze caught me out a bit and club selection off the tee boxes was what really got me today so I'll just get focused for tomorrow. I'll just stay in the moment, stay in the present."
Joburg Open winner Haydn Porteous was at four under after a 66, alongside fellow South African Theunis Spangenberg who signed for a 71, and American Daniel Im who registered a 68.
Another home favourite, Dylan Frittelli, registered a 69 in the morning to sit a further shot back, one ahead of countryman and overnight leader Justin Harding.
The four-time Sunshine Tour winner had recorded the ninth hole-in-one of the season on the 14th but also had a double, six bogeys and a birdie to sit alongside fellow South Africans Dean Burmester, Shaun Norris, Richard Sterne and Jaco Van Zyl, Swede Steven Jeppesen and Scot Jamie McLeary.