Race To Dubai leader Henrik Stenson produced more dazzling iron play to take the halfway lead at the DP World Tour Championship.
The Swede followed his opening 68 with a flawless eight-under par 64 on the Earth Course at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai to post a halfway total of 12-under 132.
That gave him a one-shot lead over first-round leader Alejandro Canizares, who carded a bogey-free 67 with a par save at the last after finding water with his third.
Last week's Turkish Airlines Open winner Victor Dubuisson shares third place with Australian Marcus Fraser (69) after four opening birdies set up a six-under 66 for the in-form Frenchman.
Stenson, who also won the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup two months ago, missed two early birdie chances but cashed in on another great approach at the third and made further gains at four, seven and nine.
Another birdie at 12 tied him for the lead and a sensational four-iron to the par five 14th set up a great eagle chance although he couldn't convert from six feet.
However, that birdie, a great par save at 15 and two more birdies at 16 and 18 elevated him to 12-under and put the 37-year-old in glorious position to be crowned European No 1 for the first time.
Race To Dubai contenders
Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell are the only two other players in the field who know a win will give them victory in the Race To Dubai but, with Stenson roaring to the top of the leaderboard, both need to press the accelerator on the weekend.
Rose is best-placed after a 67 lifted him to tied fifth on seven-under while McDowell (68) has eight shots to make up on the tall Swede.
Ian Poulter needs to win here and hope Stenson finishes outside the top two to win the Race To Dubai and is still in the hunt after a 68.
"As long as I'm in striking distance come Sunday afternoon, then we might see some fireworks," said Poulter who climbed back to seven-under - five back - with three birdies in the last six.
"I want to win. I want to put Henrik under some pressure. I'd like to take him right down to the wire."
Defending champion Rory McIlroy isn't a factor in the Race To Dubai but moved up to tied ninth on six-under after a 67 containing five birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.
"I think somewhere around 20 under par will win so I will need a couple of 65s," said McIlroy, who shot back-to-back rounds of 66 to win here 12 months ago.
"I finally feel I have got to the stage now when I can contend week in, week out and on the rare times I have got into contention this year I feel like I have played my best golf."