Lucas Bjerregaard fired a 65 at Kingsbarns Golf Links to set the clubhouse target on day two of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship but he had defending champion Tyrrell Hatton hot on his heels in Scotland.
The Dane arrived this week off the back of four consecutive top 20s and maintained that form in fine fashion, moving to nine under on a calmer day on the east coast.
High winds had made scoring very difficult on day one but a host of players made the most of friendlier weather on Friday, with Bjerregaard staying bogey-free.
Hatton - the first man to ever successfully defend this title last season - was a shot behind Bjerregaard after shooting a 66 at the Championship Course Carnoustie.
A 67 over the Old Course at St Andrews meant Austrian Matthias Schwab was also eight under, one shot clear of England's Ashley Chesters, who fired a 64 at Kingsbarns.
Bjerregaard birdied the tenth, 12th and 16th to turn in 33 and when he added another birdie at the third, he was in a three-way tie for the lead.
Schwab was also at six under after gains on the first, seventh and ninth but he then made six pars in a row as some of those around him made their moves.
Birdies at the first, sixth and tenth had Hatton within touching distance and a 12-footer at the 12th meant he was also at six under.
Oliver Bekker was the first man to jump out of that five-man group with a sixth birdie of the day on the 14th but Bjerregaard joined him when he holed a six-footer at the sixth.
A double-bogey from Bekker on the 15th handed Bjerregarrd the lead on his own but not for long as Hatton hit a wonderful second to eight feet to eagle the 14th and jump out to eight under.
Bjerregaard joined him with a 20-foot putt on the seventh and continued his brilliant run on the next, holing a monster from the fringe on the eighth to once again take the solo lead.
Schwab broke his run of pars at the 16th and then got up and down after almost driving the last get in the clubhouse at eight under, where he was joined by Hatton who parred his way home.
Chesters had gains on the third, sixth, eighth, ninth, 12th, 13th and 15th and, when he put an approach to 15 feet on the last, he was two off the lead.
Australian Marcus Fraser was also seven under with four left to play at St Andrews.
New Zealander Ryan Fox and Greek Peter Karmis were six under after a pair of 67s at Kingsbarns, a shot clear of South African Bekker and Italian Edoardo Molinari.
South African Darren Fichardt carded the lowest round of the week so far with a 63 over the Old Course to sit at four under.