Hours invested on the putting green have put Jordan Zunic within reach of a breakthrough Challenge Tour title at the Andalucía Challenge de Cádiz at Iberostar Real Golf Novo Sancti Petri.
Zunic and Englishman Sam Hutsby have established a three-stroke buffer at the top of the leaderboard, the New South Welshman following up an opening round of 6-under 66 with an 8-under 64.
A three-time winner on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and coached by Ian Triggs, Zunic has battled injuries in recent years and has been unable to transfer his immense talent to the world stage.
His time in Europe since 2016 has been split between the Challenge Tour and DP World Tour but a win this week would provide the platform to make his European schedule far more permanent.
The 31-year-old had nine birdies in his second round that he attributed to a focus on the flatstick in recent weeks.
“I had a good start today with a couple of birdies and my putter has been so hot over the last two days,” he said.
“Putting is half of the game and it has been so nice to see them roll in recently. I’m very happy with how things have gone.
“This round has been a long time coming and I’ve done a lot of work on my putting in recent weeks. It’s nice to see that come to fruition and these greens definitely suit my eye.”
Of the other five Aussies in the field, Ryan Ruffels was the only one to join Zunic for the weekend rounds.
Making a rare appearance on European soil, Ruffels bounced back from a double-bogey at the par-4 first to post six birdies in a round of 4-under 68 for a share of 34th with two rounds to play.
Also in Europe, defending champion Richard Green is just two strokes back after the opening round of the Jersey Legends on the Legends Tour.
A two-time winner last season, Green began his round with a double bogey but responded with three birdies in the space of four holes around the turn in a round of 2-under 70 to trail Markus Brier, Greig Hutcheon and Robert Coles by two.
In his Legends Tour debut, South Australian Jason Norris (73) is in a tie for 21st with Kiwi pair Michael Campbell and Michael Long a shot further back after rounds of 74.
Fellow Kiwi Steven Alker (65) is in a share of second at the PGA TOUR Champions American Family Insurance Championship, Victorian David McKenzie two shots further back in a tie for eighth after a round of 67.
Two eagles in a round of 4-under 68 has elevated Harrison Endycott into a tie for 21st through two rounds of the PGA TOUR’s RBC Canadian Open.
Even par for the tournament through four holes of his second round, Endycott birdied the par-3 14th before making eagle at the par-5 18th to carry momentum into the turn.
A bogey at the par-4 fifth once again put the Sydneysider on the brink of the cut-line but a brilliant approach from 258 yards to just 13 feet set up a second eagle at the par-5 seventh to sit just five shots off the lead held by Carl Yuan (67).
Cameron Percy also made a big move on Friday, rising 73 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 47th on the back of a round of 5-under 67 that featured four straight birdies from the eighth hole.