Ireland’s Shane Lowry registered a pair of birdies on the final two holes of his second round as a round of 70 propelled him into a share of the lead on 10 under par at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Overnight leader Thomas Bjorn, who set a new course record with his opening 62, was pleased to recover from two over par after seven holes on Friday to return a 72 in inclement conditions.
Engand’s Luke Donald carded a superb 67 to finish on six under alongside Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello in third.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy went from flirting with a third consecutive missed cut in this event to a place inside the top 10.
A front nine of 38 left the former world number one just a shot outside the projected cut mark, but he eagled the 12th for the second day running and added birdies at three of the last four holes for a 71.
McIlroy announced on Wednesday that he had called off his planned November wedding to former world number one tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, even though the invitations had just been sent out.
"I was apprehensive going out yesterday, I honestly didn't know what to expect and it was good I had the quick turnaround to get back on the golf course," the 25-year-old said.
"I have exceeded my expectations so far. Once you get inside the ropes you are concentrating on your golf and it's almost a nice four or five-hour release to concentrate on the job at hand.
"I stood here yesterday saying that I would be happy to make the cut and I'm in for the weekend, which is nice. Hopefully I can make a run at it. I feel like I'm playing well enough to shoot something in the mid 60s and get myself in the mix going into Sunday."
Offaly man Lowry, who won the Irish Open in bad weather as an amateur in 2009, is a massive fan of Wentworth and finished fourth here in 2011 and 12th last year.
"I was good out there today," said Lowry, whose best finish of the season was a share of 15th in the Spanish Open last week. "I was mentally there and really enjoyed it.
"It was tough for the front nine with the rain and stuff but it was a nice back nine and I managed to take advantage of it."