Jason Day has raced up the leaderboard midway through a scorching hot second round at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
Day, the 2016 winner, fired a bogey-free round of five-under-par 67 to race out to eight under and sits just two shots back from the clubhouse lead.
South Africa's Charl Schwartzel (66) and American youngster Patrick Cantlay (68) have set the early Friday pace at 10-under.
Chesson Hadley is solo third a shot back at nine-under, while Day shares fourth.
With the temperature at the Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida event reaching 32C and with winds blowing at 20km/h, scores are expected to worsen in the afternoon at the brutally difficult Sawgrass course.
Taking advantage of calmer morning conditions, Day's second round began with two front nine birdies before he added three more on his inward nine.
The former world No.1's approach play was stellar, hitting 15 of 18 greens in regulations despite only hitting seven of 14 fairways.
"It was nice to be able to get out there and shoot 67, five birdies, no bogeys," Day said after his round.
"I think I started tidying up a few of the areas I had (trouble with) last (week) and I think the swing is coming along.
"I just need to focus on the good progress I made and try and take it into the weekend."
Next best of the Australian contingent is Adam Scott, the 2004 Players champion, who picked up two birdies in as many holes to climb to five-under the card.
Scott's countryman Marc Leishman is three shots back having carded a second straight 71, while Geoff Ogilvy ensured he will miss the cut with a 74 dropping him to eight-over.
Rounding out the Australian contingent is Cameron Smith and Rod Pampling, who will get their second rounds underway late on Friday afternoon.
Two-time TPC Sawgrass winner Tiger Woods is expected to make the projected 36-hole cut of one-under right on the number after he backed up his opening 72 with a 71 on Friday.