Cameron Tringale leads the Valero Open field by two strokes after shooting a three-under 69 on Friday to move to nine under for the tournament at TPC San Antonio.
Jordan Spieth and Matt Wallace are tied for second at seven under, and 10 golfers are within three strokes of them.
Tringale, who carded a six-under 66 on Thursday, continued his good play after starting his round on the 10th hole.
The Californian's day didn't begin well thanks to a pair of bogeys, but a string of five birdies from the 13th through 17th holes pushed that start into the rearview mirror.
He shot even par on the front nine to finish his round, and that was good enough for a two-shot cushion going into Saturday.
The winner of the Valero Open will qualify for the Masters (provided the victor does not have a spot already). Tringale does not have a place in the field, so for now, the 33-year-old is in line to land an invitation to Augusta National Golf Club next week.
Wallace and Spieth are Tringale's top challengers for the Valero Open title. Wallace posted a four-birdie, bogey-free second round, with two birdies each on the front and back nine.
Spieth, who shot five under on Thursday, went two under on Friday. He started his round with back-to-back birdies but fell to even par in Round 2 after bogeys on Nos. 11 and 13. The two-time Masters winner bounced back with birdies on the 14th and 15th to pull into a second-place tie with Wallace.
Elsewhere, Brandt Snedeker and Lucas Glover each shot five-under 67. Snedeker is tied for fourth at five under, and Glover is four under. Snedeker posted one of the day's best shots with this hole-out for eagle on No. 8:
Another notable name playing this weekend is Rickie Fowler, who needs to win the Valero Open to make the Masters field. He shot four under Friday during a bogey-free round but has some work to do following a four-over Thursday:
The round of the day went to Charley Hoffman, as he went from being in serious danger to missing the cut to potentially putting himself in contention for a weekend run at the title with a six-under 66. He's now three under.
First-round leader Camilo Villegas, who posted the tournament's best round with an eight-under 64 on Thursday, shot four over to fall back to a tie for eighth. He had two birdies and six bogeys on the day.
The cut line landed at two over, and some notable names will not be moving on, including Tony Finau (three over), Zach Johnson (three over), Danny Willett (three over), Henrik Stenson (four over), Phil Mickelson (four over) and Jason Dufner (nine over).
Golf Channel will pick up television coverage of the third round beginning Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. NBC will take over at 3:30 p.m.