Dimitrios Papadatos set the clubhouse target as RACV Royal Pines Resort proved a tougher test on day two of the Australian PGA Championship.
Uncharacteristically calm winds had allowed for some low scoring on Thursday but a two under par 70 was enough to send Papadatos to the top of the leaderboard midway through round two.
The home favourite finished 21st on the Challenge Tour last season with a win in Portugal and has three PGA Tour of Australasia victories to his name but is trying to earn his European Tour playing privileges this week.
The 27 year old moved to seven under to sit a shot clear of 2017 champion Harold Varner III and two ahead of Paul Hayden, while a host of the later starters were also making moves up the leaderboard.
Overnight leader Jake McLeod picked up a shot in his first four holes to sit alongside Papadatos, while defending champion Cameron Smith and World Number 21 Marc Leishman moved up to six under after seven and six holes respectively.
Joint overnight leader Matt Jager was also at six under having not yet started his second round.
Starting at the tenth, Varner began his round birdie-birdie-birdie and then added another gain on the 15th to hit the summit where he was soon joined by Papadatos.
The Australian had bogeyed the second but birdied the fourth, sixth and eighth to also get to seven under.
A bogey on the ninth dropped him back but when Varner dropped two shots on the par-three second, Papadatos shared top spot with overnight leaders Jager and McLeod.
A Papadatos birdie on the par-five 12th then edged him into the solo lead before American Varner chipped in at the eighth to get within one.
When the second wave got under way, Leishman was the first to make a big move, birdieing the first and holing an 18-footer on the second to get to six under.
McLeod then jumped out of that group with a birdie from five feet on the first to quickly rejoin the lead that he had shared overnight.
Smith birdied the first and third but bogeyed the fourth before making a hat-trick of birdies, with a 20-footer on the fifth, a stunning approach to the sixth and a six-footer on the seventh.
Hayden had birdies on the third, seventh, eighth, 12th and 17th in a bogey-free 67.
Four-time champion Robert Allenby carded a second consecutive 70 to sit three shots off the lead alongside Welshman Oliver Farr.