Nick Watney's eight-under par 64 has given him a one-shot lead at the halfway stage in Quail Hollow.
Watney trailed the leaders by three strokes after his first round but he tore up the course on Friday with seven birdies, one eagle and just a solitary dropped shot.
The world No.25 was tipped for big things a couple of years ago and he bounced back from blowing a three-shot lead in the final round of the USPGA Championship in 2010, with two victories on the PGA Tour in 2011.
TheCalifornia-born star's form has dipped of late and he has not recorded a top 10 finish in a PGA Tour stroke play event for more than seven months.
However, he is in great shape to challenge over the weekend and feels that the hard work that he put in after missing the weekend at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans has paid dividends.
"I think last week missing the cut was a wake-up call for me," he said. "I've worked really hard these five days leading into this event. I think it just shows I'm making progress.
"Who knows what's going to happen this weekend but I'm really excited for it. More hard work and hopefully I'll be in this position a lot more."
Watney leads by one from Webb Simpson, who added a 68 to his opening 65, while four players, Stewart Cink, DA Points, John Senden and Ben Crane, who matched Watney's 64, are a further shot back on -10.
Ryan Moore is in seventh on nine-under par, while Hunter Haas and Heath Slocum are tied for eighth on eight-under par.
But they will not be joined by Tiger Woods at the weekend as the 14-time major winner continues to struggle with his game.
The 36-year-old appeared to be right back in form going into the Masters but he was never a factor at Augusta and, after carding rounds of 71 and 73 at the Wells Fargo Championship, had to pack his bags on Friday night.
Rory McIlroy eased into the weekend with a 68 and, at -6, is still well in contention while Lee Westwood, who sneaked in right at the cut line of one-under, will have it all to do to catch the leaders.
England's Brian Davis also made it despite shooting three double bogeys in his two-over par round of 74 and he is four-under with 36 holes to play.