Peter Hedblom moved two shots clear at the halfway stage of the ISPS Handa Perth International following a second round of 69 in Western Australia.
Needing a nothing less than a victory to keep hold of his European Tour card for next season, the veteran Swede mixed six birdies with three bogeys to finish the day on seven-under, two clear of England's Ross Fisher.
Fisher himself has plenty to play for, the Englishman is currently 65th in the Race to Dubai standings and knows a big week will go a long way to securing his place at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
An excellent five-under-par round of 67 certainly boosted his chances of clinching a spot in Dubai next month as Fisher also carded a total of six birdies, including a hole-out from the bunker at the par-three eighth.
A group of five players are camped one shot behind Fisher at four-under including Denmark's Soren Hansen (69) and joint-overnight leader Jin Jeong of Korea (72).
Defending champion Bo Van Pelt put in another solid round, following his opening 70 with a one-under 71 to sit four back at three-under-par alongside England's Richard Finch - another trying to rescue his playing privileges this week.
DJ loses ground
However, Van Pelt's compatriot Dustin Johnson lost ground as he posted a two-over 74. Things had started brightly for the pre-tournament favourite with two birdies in his first three holes, but a bogey at 13 was followed by a double at 14 as he dropped back to one-under.
That is six shots off the pace of Hedblom who kept his momentum going after also getting underway with a birdie.
The 43-year-old made further gains at the fourth, seventh, ninth, 13th and 15th holes to offer him real hope of a fairytale finish to his season.
"It's been two great days," he told the European Tour's website. "But my golf is strange right now, because I hit really good shots, and some really poor shots, but my putting has been good. So it's great right now to be leading.
"It's been a while - 2009 was my last win, but I know I have the game to do it. Right now would be good. We'll see, I think the closer you get to Sunday it's going to be harder.
"I don't really have anything to lose. If I want to play another full year on Tour, I need to win. You just have to go for it and have fun."