Jason Scrivener held a share of the halfway lead as home favourites dominated the leaderboard at the ISPS Handa Vic Open.
The Australian carded a 66 over the Beach course at 13th Beach Golf Club to move to 14 under and share the lead with Nick Flanagan, as Australians occupied the top five spots heading into the weekend.
Wade Ormsby was at 13 under, a shot clear of Matt Jager and Brad Kennedy.
Clément Sordet carded a brilliant 64 to sit three shots off the lead alongside Nick Cullen and David Law.
This week's event is played over the Beach and the Creek courses in Geelong, with men and women from four tours playing over the same layouts in separate tournaments for equal prize money.
After two trips to the Qualifying School and two seasons keeping his playing privileges on the bubble, Scrivener finished 68th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex last season and has three top tens from four starts so far in 2019.
"Two solid days' work," he said. "Can't really fault it. I played nicely, so looking forward to the weekend.
"Any time your game's in a good place and you're constantly making cuts and putting yourself in contention, it's good for confidence. I just feel like over the last six months I've made some big improvements in my game and steadily progressing the last couple of years.
"I feel like it's in a good position and I just want to give myself more chances to win tournaments. I definitely feel like I've been knocking on the door and I think the more chances I give myself, the better."
Scrivener made a birdie-birdie start to catch overnight leader Flanagan and Jager soon joined him with birdies on the second, sixth, seventh and eighth over the Creek.
A Jager eagle on the tenth put the 2010 Australian Amateur champion into a two-shot lead but he bogeyed the next and a Scrivener birdie on the 15th meant the lead was shared again.
Jager birdied the 13th and 14th but Scrivener produced a nice chip on the 18th and holed a slippery putt on the second.
A bogey on the last from Jager left the door open for Scrivener and the 29 year old moved two ahead with a birdie on the seventh after spinning his approach to two feet.
Flanagan was back in top spot on his own after making birdies on the third, seventh, ninth, 13th and 15th before dropping a shot on the next in a 68 over the Beach course.
"I'm probably happier with today's round considering it was backing up that 62," he said. "To be up there at the top of the leaderboard's obviously great and we'll go out on the weekend and just kind of keep doing what I'm doing."
Ormsby birdied the second, fourth, fifth and seventh on the Creek before some dialled-in iron play brought a hat-trick of birdies from the ninth and a share of the lead.
An approach to four feet on the 13th had him ahead on his own but he pulled his par putt on the next and left one agonisingly short on the 16th to slip back.
Kennedy was bogey-free over the Beach with seven birdies in a 65, a total bettered by Sordet who posted the lowest round of the day.
The Frenchman turned in 34 with three birdies and a bogey but then made gains on the first, second, third, fifth, seventh and eighth.
Fellow Qualifying School graduate Cullen carded seven birdies and two bogeys, while Challenge Tour graduate Law stayed bogey-free for the week with six birdies.
Grant Forrest, Ryan Fox, Lucas Herbert, Michael Hoey and Anton Karlsson were in the group at ten under.
In the women's event, American Kim Kaufman carded a second consecutive 66 to get to 13 under and lead by two shots from Japan's Haru Nomura, with Australian Su Oh a further shot back.