Greensboro, North Carolina: American Tommy Gainey carded a five-under 65 to grab a three-shot lead over a chasing pack led by a hard-charging Ernie Els after two rounds at Wyndham Championship on Friday.
Gainey, who shared a one-shot overnight lead with Jeff Quinney, took advantage of ideal early scoring conditions at the Sedgefield Country Club, mixing six birdies with his only bogey of the week to reach the midway point at 12-under 128.
"I try to make as many birdies as I possibly can. That`s what this game is all about," Gainey, who opened with a seven-under 63, told reporters.
"I haven`t really accomplished anything in two days. The only thing I`ve accomplished is I`ve set myself up in good shape going into the weekend."
Els, who needs a strong finish at the Wyndham to secure a spot in the lucrative season-ending FedExCup playoffs, got his day off to a wobbly start with a bogey at the first but was error free the rest of the way returning a four-under 66.
The big South African began the week sitting 126th in the FedExCup standings and needs to nudge his way inside the top 125 to clinch a place in next weeks Barclays Classic, the first of four playoff events.
Els was joined at nine-under 131 by Australian Stuart Appleby (67) and Americans and Daniel Summerhays (65) and Webb Simpson (65).
Lurking a further shot back is another pack of four led by Briton Paul Casey, who like Els is battling for a place in the playoffs.
Casey boosted his chances with an error-free three-under 67 to stay in contention alongside Brazilian Alexandre Rocha (66), South African Retief Goosen (65) and American Jim Furyk (67).
Colombian Camilo Villegas, who began the week on the bubble holding down the final playoff spot, shot up the leaderboard with a six-under 64 to join a group that includes Fijian Vijay Singh (69) six back of the leader.
Irishman Padraig Harrington kept his hopes of reaching the playoffs alive with a birdie at the 17th to squeeze under the three-under cut with 68 but Angel Cabrera`s chances of qualifying disappeared with a one-over 71 to leave the Argentine with the weekend off.
Arjun Atwal, who became the first player from India to triumph on the PGA Tour at last year`s Wyndham Championship, saw his title defence end with two-over 72, missing the cut by a five shots.