Sweden's Rikard Karlberg holds a two-shot lead after carding a second-round 68 in the Russian Open at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club near Moscow.
Karlberg had been one of three overnight leaders at five under par, along with Simon Dyson and Liang Wen-chong. His four birdies in his opening six holes on Friday saw him open up a gap over the rest of the field.
His lead could have been greater had he not dropped shots at the 18th and fifth, having started his round at the tenth.
Karlberg heads a chasing group of four on seven under par.
Among this group is Belfast's Michael Hoey who alongside Frenchman Alexandre Kaleka were the day's big movers as rounds of 67 moved them into contention.
England's Matthew Baldwin shot a 69 to be three under on the day, with China's Liang Wen-chong carding a round of 70.
David Higgins, from Cork, is two under in tied 19th place.
Karlberg, seeking his first in on the European Tour, told EuropeanTour.com: "It was a pretty tough day out there today because the wind got really strong in the middle of the round and caused quite a few problems.
"I am in a great position right now but there is still a long way to go" - Rikard Karlberg
"But I made a really good start to the round and then when the conditions got worse I managed to hang in there and then had a great finish with two birdies in my last few holes which is very satisfying obviously.
"I am in a great position right now but there is still a long way to go. We are only at the halfway stage and I need to keep doing what I have been doing and making birdies to have a chance.
"I am looking forward to the weekend - this is why we play the game; to get ourselves into these positions so hopefully I can keep playing well and make another good score tomorrow and we will go from there."
Simon Dyson who had been level with Karlberg and Liang after the opening round, had a difficult day.
A double bogey on the 17th proved costly as he dropped back to three under for the tournament after his 74.