Hennie Otto shot a magnificent 10-under par during the second round of the Italian Open in Turin to lead by three shots.
The South African's round of 62 included a remarkable nine birdies and an eagle to leave him on 15-under par as he heads into the weekend three shots ahead of Austrian Bernd Wiesberger.
England's Ross Fisher is in third place, six shots adrift of Otto with Scotland's Stephen Gallacher eight shots off the pace after an inconsistent round of 65.
Ryder Cup aim
Gallacher needs a top-two finish to guarantee his place in Europe's Ryder Cup team as he aims to overtake Graeme McDowell in the automatic qualifying places. But the Scot looked as though he wouldn't even make the cut at one point as he went into the back nine of day two just one under par.
But the 39-year old completed his back nine in 30 shots, which included six birdies, to climb the leaderboard and give himself a chance of the top-two finish he needs.
Although Gallacher may have experienced a see-saw round, Otto was superb throughout his 18 holes at the Circolo Golf Torino.
Six birdies on the front nine saw the 2008 champion start well and, although two pars halted his progress, he looked like he may card the first ever 59 on the European Tour when he reached 10-under par after 15 holes.
But he was unable to create European Tour history as he parred the 16th and bogeyed the following hole.
But Otto was determined not to let a bad end ruin his day as he finished with yet another birdie at the last as he heads into the weekend looking for his first triumph since he won the 2011 South African Open Championship.
Otto admits he didn't realise he was close to writing European Tour history but hopes to can pick up where he left off over the weekend.
"It's always special to shoot a 62 but a 59 never even crossed my mind," he said afterwards. "I didn't really think about my score until my caddie said if I made par on 17 we would have been on course for a 10-under-par round.
"Something about courses in Italy suits my eye and it would be great to win the tournament. Hopefully I can keep it up and keep going over the weekend."
Incidentally, Wiesberger was the runner-up to Otto when he last won a tournament three years ago and is now his nearest challenger again. His second consecutive round of 66 leaves him at 12-under par at the halfway stage.
Rest of the pack
Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Scotsman Richie Ramsay, Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen, England’s James Morrison and American David Lipsky are all level on eight-under par.
Italy's Francesco Molinari had been the joint overnight leader after his six-under par but he could only manage a level-par round during day two.