Edoardo Molinari led a European Tour event through 36 holes for the first time in his career after another bogey-free 66 at the Czech Masters.

Molinari, the brother of 2018 Open Championship winner Francesco, has three European Tour titles to his name but had never previously sat atop a leaderboard at the halfway stage.

However, the Italian’s consistency in Prague saw him rewarded with a two-stroke lead heading into the weekend.

Molinari had a share of fourth after Thursday, having carded six birdies and no dropped shots, and he matched that display on Friday to move to 12 under.

Having had to work to regain his card in 2015 and 2016, Molinari reflected on a promising start this week, saying: “At the moment I’m very comfortable, I’m enjoying playing golf.

“I’ve been going through a tough few years so, at the minute, I’m just really enjoying myself on the golf course. I’m playing well so life is good at the minute.”

It was Thomas Pieters, the 2015 winner, who represented Molinari’s nearest rival at the end of the second round, sitting on 10 under after his bogey-free 67.

Four players were tied in third on nine under: Matthias Schwab, Sam Horsfield, Hugo Leon and Robert Karlsson.

Defending champion Andrea Pavan was among a clutch of players on eight under.

Malaysian Gavin Green, who led through 18 holes, having done likewise and finished third in the tournament a year ago, fell away spectacularly this time. He carded a three-over 75 and dropped to a share of 33rd place.