Sam Horsfield and Sebastian Garcia-Rodriguez were the joint leaders following the second round of the Hero Open after the former carded a nine-under 63 on Friday.
Garcia-Rodriguez had been out on his own after a brilliant opening-round 62, which put him two clear of compatriots Pablo Larrazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is competing in his European Tour-record 707th tournament this week.
But neither Jimenez nor Larrazabal were able to break par on Friday - the former remaining on eight-under and the latter dropping to five-under - and it was Horsfield who instead reeled Garcia-Rodriguez in with the round of the day to reach 13 under par for the tournament.
Aided by an eagle on the fourth, the Englishman went round in three shots fewer than anyone else at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club in Birmingham and, crucially, avoided dropping a shot having been blighted by four bogeys on Thursday.
A birdie-birdie finish from Garcia-Rodriguez gave him the clubhouse lead but Horsfield also picked up a shot at the 17th before parring the last to ensure a share of the lead at the halfway point.
The duo are three strokes clear of Thomas Detry, and four in front of Alexander Bjork and Antoine Rozner.
Eddie Pepperell, the highest-ranked player in the field, withdrew prior to the second round having carded a disappointing 76 on Thursday.