Otto ahead by three in Turin
Hennie Otto flirted with creating European Tour history on his way to seizing the lead during the second round of the Italian Open in Turin.
The South African carded a stunning 62 that featured nine birdies and an eagle to move to 15 under par, meaning he will head into the weekend with a three-shot advantage over his nearest rival, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger.
Ross Fisher is a further three back on nine under, while Stephen Gallacher sits eight shots off the pace after a real see-saw round of 65.
Needing to finish in the top two at the tournament to replace Graeme McDowell in the final automatic qualifying place for Europe's Ryder Cup team, Scotsman Gallacher looked in danger of not even making the cut when he sat at one under after 27 holes.
However the 39-year-old covered his back nine in 30 shots, including six birdies, to drag himself up the leaderboard and give himself renewed hope of automatic qualification for Gleneagles.
While Gallacher found form at just the right time to boost his Ryder Cup hopes, Otto was in sensational touch from the outset at Circolo Golf Torino.
The 2008 champion managed six birdies on his front nine and despite two pars following on after the turn, he suggested a first ever 59 could be on the cards on the Tour when he moved to 10 under for the day after 15 holes.
The magic number was not to be, though, as a par at the 16th was followed by the man from Boksburg dropping his first shot of the week with a bogey five at the penultimate hole.
Still, Otto bounced back from the minor setback in style, a birdie at the last putting him in a strong position to record his first tournament triumph since the 2011 South African Open Championship.
"It's always special to shoot a 62 but a 59 never even crossed my mind," he said afterwards. "I didn't really think about my score until my caddie said if I made par on 17 we would have been on course for a 10-under-par round.
"Something about courses in Italy suits my eye and it would be great to win the tournament. Hopefully I can keep it up and keep going over the weekend."
Wiesberger - who actually finished second when Otto last tasted glory three years ago - recorded a second successive 66, the same score as Englishman Fisher managed on Friday.
Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Scotsman Richie Ramsay, Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen, England's James Morrison and American David Lipsky are all huddled together on eight under par.
Francesco Molinari had been joint leader on six under after the opening round but the local favourite was only able to follow up his 66 on the Thursday with a level-par score of 72. Brother Edoardo is a further two shots back on four under after a 69, while fellow Italian Matteo Manassero just made the cut at two under.