Local man James Morrison was out on his own in front as world number one Rory McIlroy headed towards a second successive missed cut on the second day of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Morrison, who switched to golf after playing for the England youth cricket team alongside Alastair Cook and Tim Bresnan, added a sparkling 64 to his opening 68. At 12-under-par he was four clear of world number two Luke Donald, who won the title at six under last year, and Scot David Drysdale.
McIlroy, on the other hand, slumped to four-over-par and probably needed four birdies in the last eight holes to avoid another early exit two weeks after crashing out of the Players Championship in Florida.
Third-ranked Lee Westwood, beaten in a play-off by Donald 12 months ago, was also in danger of heading home, a double bogey on the seventh and bogey at the short 10th dropping him to level par, the expected cut mark.
Morrison, 236th in the world, jumped out of the shadows by following six birdies with a 25-foot eagle putt on the 539-yard last.
His story is a remarkable one. The 27-year-old did not start golf until he was 16, but went from 18-handicap to scratch in 10 months.
That prompted him to give up cricket, his final game for Surrey Under-17s being an innings of 114 not out.
"I haven't really looked back," he said. "Playing golf is better than standing in the field all day."
The money is better too. He has already won around £750,000 despite his only Tour title being the relatively minor Madeira Islands Open in 2010 - and first prize this weekend is almost £600,000.
Donald is form favourite for it, however, after his second successive 68.