Patrick Reed will take a one shot advantage into the weekend at the 2020 U.S. Open Championship after a second day where the lead moved backwards as Winged Foot Golf Club lived up to its fearsome reputation.
With tough pin positions and more wind in the air after a relatively low scoring first round, Bryson DeChambeau eagled his final hole to set the clubhouse target at three under but he was still two shots off the lead after a 68 that was one of just three sub-70 rounds all day.
Reed and Justin Thomas were the men ahead of him but they soon fell back before the 2018 Masters Tournament Champion birdied his final hole to sign for a 70 and edge ahead at four under.
The 2018 Race to Dubai runner-up once again sits second in the Rankings presented by Rolex and a victory on Sunday could see him take a big step to being crowned Europe's Number One for the first time.
"I feel good," he said. "I feel ready to go out and put myself in position hopefully tomorrow to have a chance late on Sunday.
"I think that the biggest thing is I feel like the game is where it needs to be. I feel good. I just need to tighten a few things up here or there but the short game is sharp and when I play around a place like this, that's what you need.
"I love the grind. I love getting in there. I love when it's hard, when you have to be creative on all different golf shots."
DeChambeau started the day four shots off the lead and remained there at the turn as he made birdies from around 11 feet at the 11th and 14th and holed a long putt from off the green at the 16th but also dropped shots at the tenth, 12th and 15th.
A 30-footer from the lower level on the third green and an enormous two putt after almost driving the par four sixth brought birdies but they were cancelled out as he dropped shots on the second and fifth.
A stunning second to six feet on the par five ninth then set up an eagle, and the 2019 Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner was the leader in the clubhouse.
I love the grind. I love getting in there. I love when it's hard, when you have to be creative on all different golf shots
An 18 foot putt on the 11th saw Reed join Thomas at the summit but he gave the shot straight back after missing the green at the 13th.
The overnight leader then three putted the same hole but Reed failed to get up and down again on the 15th, and a missed green from Thomas on the 14th meant the leading duo had come back to DeChambeau.
An approach to ten feet at the 16th briefly put Reed back on top but he gave the shot straight back after finding a bunker, while Thomas dropped further shots on the 16th and 17th but hit a stunner into the 18th to set up a birdie.
Reed used the contours of the first green to set up a birdie but bogeyed the fifth, before an approach to 13 feet on the next edged him back ahead but another bogey followed on the seventh.
The 30-year-old then found a greenside bunker on the par five ninth but he got up and down brilliantly to take the solo lead once more.
Thomas' wild ride continued as he birdied the third after making a double on the first before making another gain on the seventh in a 73.
Cabrera Bello birdied the tenth and 13th from long range but then joined most of the field in struggling as he dropped shots on the 14th, 17th, 18th, third and fifth.
The three time European Tour winner is made of stern stuff, however, and he holed from 20 feet on the sixth, hit an excellent tee shot into the par three next and made the most of the par five ninth to get back to two under for the week.
English made two birdies and two bogeys in a 70 of his own.
Pieters was the only player to get to six under when he birdied the first and fifth but he came home in 41 with bogeys on the tenth, 11th, 14th, 15th, 17th and last.
Matsuyama carded a 69, Schauffele and Todd both registered rounds of 72, and Wolff signed for a 74.