Gavin Green fired the lowest 36-hole score to total in D+D Real Czech Masters history to take a one-shot lead into the weekend at Albatross Golf Resort.
The Malaysian followed up his opening 64 with a 68 to get to 12 under and lead the way from Dane Jeff Winther, with three-time Major Championship winner Padraig Harrington, Italian Andrea Pavan, Belgian Thomas Pieters and Finn Tapio Pulkkanen two shots back.
Just under 90 minutes were lost due to lightning early in the day as storms continued to circulate around Prague but Green refused to be flustered, making four birdies in a row around the turn to surge up the leaderboard.
Winther also carded a 68 as he looks for a strong finish to the season to keep his playing privileges, while Pieters – with a win and a second here in recent seasons – is looking to continue his good form ahead of Thomas Bjorn making his Captain’s Picks for the Ryder Cup.
South Africa’s challenge comes five back in the shape of Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who will regret a late bogey. Bezuidenhout, who started the day one under, was -6 through 12 and got his score to -7 with a birdie at the par-three 16th before his late stumble halted his march up the leaderboard.
One behind Bezuidenhout is Jacques Kruyswijk, who shares 24th place on -6. The European Tour rookie moved up 41 places on Friday despite two bogeys. Those drops were countered by a run of three birdies in a row from the 4th before closing with birdies on the 16th and 18th.
JC Ritchie, Justin Walters and defending champion Haydn Porteous are all one back of Kruyswijk at -4. Despite three birdies on his inward nine, Dean Burmester missed the cut by a single stroke after a 69 followed up his opening 72. Thomas Aiken, runner-up last week, finished +1 as he joins Burmester on the sidelines this weekend.