Kearney played the final two holes of his weather-delayed first round in one-under par on Friday morning to complete a flawless 65, before adding a second-round 68 to reach 11-under.

Viktor Hovland, Bernd Wiesberger, Masahiro Kawamura, Adrien Saddier and Jorge Campillo share second place on nine-under, with US Open runner-up Louis Oosthuizen and two-time major winner Martin Kaymer part of a group two shots further back.

Australia's bright start faded as overnight leader Wade Ormsby struggled on Friday, shooting 75 in his second round – 10 shots worse than his opening day effort.

He's in joint 33rd place overall, while his compatriots Maverick Antcliff (69) and Min Woo Lee (73) were lying tied for 27th on a five-under total.

Kearney recorded his best European Tour finish with a share of fourth in the Canary Islands Championship in May thanks to a closing 61, but had missed the cut in his last three starts.

"I just feel really fresh," the 33-year-old told Sky Sports.

"I have been home the last couple of weeks and I've had plenty of time to rest. I had been travelling prior to that quite a bit and it was great just to get home and recharge and then get back out.

"The course is fantastic and it suits my eye. It's old-fashioned with avenues and it's quite tight off the tee and I am really enjoying it."

Kearney's only bogey of the week so far came on the 17th in round two, but he followed that with a brilliant approach to the 18th from 260 yards that was fired straight at a pin just a few yards over the water.