Justin Thomas set the clubhouse goal on day two of the US PGA Championship with overnight leader Rory McIlroy yet to start his second round.
The American world number nine hit a second 67 to go six under par, one clear of Northern Ireland’s McIlroy.
The score was a bounty on a blustery morning in Southern Hills, Oklahoma, with Thomas one of the few early starters to make a move.
Four-time major champion McIlroy started his second round at 7.36pm BST.
England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick was one of the few to head in the right direction on Friday, dropping to three under par for the tournament before unleashing his first shot of the day on his 13th hole.
The 27-year-old, whose best major finish was a seventh-place finish at the Masters in 2016, bounced back with a birdie in the seventh – his 16th – and scrambled two pars to post a total of 69 and three under.
Former world number one Dustin Johnson and current occupant Scottie Scheffler look certain to miss the cut after both dropped to six over par – Scheffler after inexplicably dropping two shots on his final hole.
Thomas tames the Tulsa breeze
Thomas started day two behind McIlroy and went level with two birdies on his first four holes, having started on the 10, in what was a guaranteed round for the 2017 champion.
A bogey on the 14th par three dampened his momentum, but a series of eight pars followed before he finished confidently with a birdie on the long fifth before stepping in a birdie on the final hole to post a second 67 consecutive.
“I liked it a lot, it brings out a lot of my game and I’m comfortable in it,” Thomas said of the conditions.
Two-time major champion Johnson was alongside his compatriot but looked set to go home after posting a three-for-73 that included a double bogey after hitting a creek on the par-four seventh.
That put Johnson eight up and although he finished with two birdies, he will head home early.
Scheffler, fresh from his Masters triumph last month, is another eyeing an early exit after struggling to get to grips with the Tulsa venue and also finished the day at six o’clock.
He was part of a marquee group containing the three highest-ranked players in the world, but followed Thursday’s 71 with a five of 75 on Friday that crashed to his back nine.
Scheffler started in the 10th and after carding nine straight pars, he posted four bogeys either side of a birdie in the stretch before a double bogey at the last left him two outside the projected cut line.
Open champion Collin Morikawa also endured a tricky morning and he faces a nervous wait after finishing four over, while Spaniard Jon Rahm heads into the weekend at two over from par after a one under 69.
Two-time winner of this event, Brooks Koepka, posted one of the first innings of the day with a three-under 67, an improvement of eight strokes on his first 75.
The majority of players at the top of the leaderboard are among the laggards. They took advantage of the best conditions on Thursday and should start again on Friday with the wind starting to drop.
American pair Tom Hoge and Will Zalatoris enter their second round, just two behind Thomas.