Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge made the most of his growing comfort level on the Old White Course by charging into the early lead in Friday's second round of the Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia.
The burly 31-year-old, who finished third in the event's inaugural edition here 12 months ago, fired a sparkling three-under-par 67 to vault to the top of the standings at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs.
De Jonge rebounded from an early bogey with four birdies to post a seven-under total of 133 in bright sunshine at the picturesque resort venue situated in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains.
Britain's Brian Davis birdied five of his last nine holes for a scintillating 64 to trail by two shots, level with Americans Gary Woodland (70), Michael Letzig (66) and Scott Stallings (65).
Former Masters champion Trevor Immelman of South Africa, who set the first-round pace with a sizzling 64 on Thursday, was among the day's late starters.
De Jonge, who had opened with a 66 in pursuit of a maiden victory on the PGA Tour, was delighted to stay in contention for the title at The Greenbrier.
"I started out a little bit shaky but I made some good pars at the beginning of the round and got some momentum going," de Jonge told reporters. "It was nice. I felt like I had pretty good control of the ball."
The Zimbabwean's best PGA Tour finish was his third place in last year's Greenbrier Classic and he said he had liked the par-70 layout when he first saw it.
"I felt comfortable here from the start and I love the changes (since last year)," de Jonge added. "It feels good out there. It's a comfortable place for me."
De Jonge posted three top-three finishes on the 2010 PGA Tour and believes he simply needs to stay out of his own way if he is to pull off a long-awaited breakthrough victory on the U.S. circuit.
"It's very, very difficult to win out here; it's difficult to win anywhere," he said. "The biggest thing is just getting out of my own way.
"Staying in your own routine ... is the best way to put it."
The cut was projected to fall at one-over 141 with former majors winners Justin Leonard, fellow American Davis Love III and Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal among those likely to miss out.