Local favourite Francesco Molinari delighted the home crowds by climbing into a three-way share of the halfway lead at the Italian Open in Turin.
Molinari, who is a native of the north-western Italian city, carded a second round of 67 at Golf Club Torino to join Chile's Felipe Aguilar and Ireland's Simon Thornton on nine-under par.
The 30-year-old has been the centre of attention all week as he bids to claim his national open for the second time but the pressure does not seem to be having a negative effect on his game.
"It adds a little bit of pressure but it's good, it gives you an extra motivation to do well and get focused for 18 holes," Molinari said.
"I said at the beginning of the week I didn't want to think of anything but try to enjoy the week, try to make some birdies and I'll try to do the same Saturday and Sunday.
"It doesn't really matter that I won before, this is a special, special week for me. I was emotional yesterday on the 10th tee at 8am with only 50 people watching so now with all these people on my course it's a great feeling.
"It has been brilliant so far so let's hope it continues to stay that way over the weekend. You have to embrace it, have fun; I smile on the course when I see people I know and I know they are rooting for me so I just try to enjoy it."
Nicolas Colsaerts had looked set to at least maintain his overnight share of the lead but bogeyed the 16th and 18th to return a round of 71, which left him on eight under alongside Ireland's David Higgins and England's Steve Webster.
Colsaerts said: "It's always tough to follow a day of prime striking. I missed only one green yesterday and everything was going my way pretty much.
"Then I started with a bogey today with a seven iron in my hand so that doesn't really get you in the greatest of moods."
Jose Maria Olazabal, who captained Molinari and Colsaerts to Ryder Cup glory last year, is four off the lead on five under after adding a 68 to his opening 71.
The 47-year-old said: "Yesterday was a battling day, I didn't hit the ball well at all and just managed to get my way in with a decent score. Today I hit the ball a little better. I still made a few mistakes but it was a better day."
Two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen is two under on his return to action following a four-month injury lay-off with a stress fracture in his back.