A second-round 70 was enough to keep India's Arjun Atwal out in front at the halfway stage of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open but he had a dangerous chasing pack breathing down his neck.
Overnight leader Atwal began the day four shots clear at the summit after producing a course-record 62 at Heritage Golf Club on Thursday, but he saw his advantage cut to a single shot after fellow early starters Dylan Frittelli and Laurie Canter posted second-round 66s, with Louis de Jager joining them on nine under par in the afternoon.
South African Frittelli finished with a flourish on Friday, rolling in his birdie putt from five feet at the eighth - his penultimate hole - before smashing his tee shot to within a couple of feet of the cup at the par-four ninth and tapping in for a closing eagle.
Canter notched back-to-back birdies towards the end of his round to get within a shot of Atwal, and had a great chance to catch the 44 year old at the ninth - his last - but he just missed his birdie putt from six feet.
Afternoon starter De Jager carded a single bogey and five birdies - including a brilliant ten footer at the last - in his second round to join the group in a tie for second.
But the trio could not catch three-time European Tour champion Atwal, who had carded three birdies and two bogeys earlier in the day to keep his nose in front.
I was hitting the ball just as good but it is tough to follow up a 62 with another low round. I'll take this one-under - Arjun Atwal
Justin Walters, Oliver Bekker, Miguel Tabuena, José-Filipe Lima and Ockie Strydom were in a tie for fourth on eight under.
Atwal, who will captain Team Asia in January's EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM, began his second round on the tenth tee and picked up his first birdie of the day at the long 14th.
He dropped a shot at the 16th but got it back at the par-five 18th to return to ten under.
And after beginning his back nine with back-to-back pars, Atwal carded his second bogey of the day at the third.
But Atwal took advantage of the par-five seventh for the second day in a row, rolling in his three-foot birdie putt to get to ten under par.
After his second round, he said: "I was pleased with how I played.
"The putter was definitely not as hot as the first day. I was hitting the ball just as good but it is tough to follow up a 62 with another low round. I'll take this one-under.
"I'm really looking forward to the weekend."
Frittelli began the day five shots behind Atwal after Thursday's 67, and after opening his second round with six straight pars from the tenth tee, the 27 year old picked up his first shot of the day at the 16th.
A bogey at the 17th was followed by another gain on the long 18th but he dropped a second shot at the first to fall back to four under.
Frittelli made a birdie at the second for the second successive day before holing his ten-foot birdie putt on the sixth to climb up the leaderboard.
Last season's LYONESS OPEN powered by ORGANIC+ champion had to settle for a three-putt par at the long seventh but made amends with a birdie at the next to move to seven under.
And Frittelli came within feet of making an albatross at the 334-yard ninth but knocked in for an eagle to get within one shot of Atwal.
"I'm very happy with the score," said Frittelli. "The score was good but I didn’t play too well today."
Canter enjoyed a strong start on Friday, firing four birdies in his first eight holes before a bogey at the 18th saw him reach the turn in 33.
The 28 year old picked up another shot at the fourth before a bogey on the next hole threatened to stall his progress.
But he bounced back in style, reeling off consecutive birdies at the sixth and seventh to head into the weekend on nine under par.
Canter said: "I'm delighted with the two days really."
Starting at the tenth, De Jager recovered from a bogey at the 13th with back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th to reach the turn in 35.
The South African then closed his round with further gains at the fourth, seventh and ninth to get to nine under.
De Jager said: "I'm feeling very good going into the weekend. I'm hitting the ball so well, I'm putting well, I'm chipping well, so it's going to be a fun weekend."
Meanwhile, the lowest round of the day was posted by Thailand's Suttijet Kooratanapisan, who tied the course record with a 62 which included two eagles.
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