Tyrrell Hatton took charge of the British Masters on Friday, opening up a three-shot lead at Close House thanks to a second-round 65.
Hatton, who ended a recent slump in form to tie for third at the European Masters in his last outing, began the day sharing the lead with George Coetzee at seven under.
Coetzee could only manage a two-over 72 in his second round, but Hatton again prospered, all six of his gains coming on holes he had also birdied on Thursday.
A bogey on the seventh represented the only blemish on Hatton's card as the Englishman - the defending champion at next week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - reached 12 under for the tournament.
Four other home players - tournament host Lee Westwood (65), Ian Poulter (65), Ashley Chesters (66) and Chris Hanson (67) - share second with Robert Karlsson (65) on nine under.
Graeme Storm, Lee Slattery and Mikko Ilonen are a shot further back.
Wet weather made scoring trickier on Friday, particularly for those out later in the day, and Hatton was understandably delighted with his efforts.
"It was fairly testing at times with the rain coming down," said Hatton. "Overall I'm really happy with my morning's work - five under was a good score out there."
Rory McIlroy is eight strokes adrift of Hatton after shooting 69 in his second round.