North Carolina - American Pat Perez birdied five of the last six holes on his way to a six-under par 65 to take a two-shot lead after two rounds of the $6.5 million US PGA Wells Fargo Championship.
Perez stood on 12-under 132 after 36 holes, two strokes ahead of countrymen Bill Haas and Jonathan Byrd with another US duo, major champions Phil Mickelson and Lucas Glover, another stroke back.
"Today was really a fun day, putts went in early, and it's going to be a fun weekend," Mickelson said.
Fiji's Vijay Singh, Sweden's Carl Pettersson and American Stewart Cink shared sixth on 136. Singh, ranked 54th, must pull himself into the top 50 over the next three weeks in order to avoid having to qualify for June's US Open.
A week after being the third man in a pairing where Rory Sabbatini and Sean O'Hair screamed obscenities at each other, Perez was happy for a mellow day and a hot finish, including a 30-foot birdie putt at 17 and an eight-footer at 18.
"It was great to be on the course and I knew I was playing well," Perez said. "Just nice to have peace on the course, and having some laughs and all that kind of stuff. It was nice. It was fun."
Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, equaled his low round in 30 at Quail Hollow, saving par after finding water at the 14th and sinking a 30-foot birdie putt at 18 on his way to a 66.
"I was thinking of going low," Mickelson said.
"Yesterday I was just kind of fighting to keep the round in check. I was able to use my short game to keep myself in it and shoot something under par so that when I get a hot day like today where I'm making a few putts, making some birdies, it's able to move me up the leaderboard rather than just get me back in the middle of the pack."
Defending champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, the Masters leader last month with nine holes remaining, missed the cut.
"Gave myself a lot of opportunities. Just wasn't able to take them," McIlroy said.
"I'm disappointed to come back here after all that happened last year and wanted to be here for the weekend. But that's golf, and I'll go home and I'll do some hard practice over the next 10 days and try and get ready for the next event."
Leaderboard after two rounds:
132 - Pat Perez 67-65
134 - Bill Haas 64-70, Jonathan Byrd 66-68
135 - Lucas Glover 67-68, Phil Mickelson 69-66
136 - Carl Pettersson (SWE) 68-68, Vijay Singh (FIJ) 68-68, Stewart Cink 71-65
137 - Brian Davis (GBR) 70-67, Webb Simpson 70-67, Steve Marino 70-67
138 - Kevin Na 69-69, Bo Van Pelt 71-67, John Senden (AUS) 74-64, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 69-69, David Toms 66-72, Ryan Moore 69-69, Jason Bohn 71-67, Andres Romero (ARG) 71-67
139 - Ryuji Imada (JPN) 69-70, Matt Jones (AUS) 70-69, Steven Bowditch (AUS) 71-68, Alex Cejka (GER) 71-68
141 - Martin Kaymer (GER) 70-71, Padraig Harrington (IRL) 69-72
142 - Jarrod Lyle (AUS) 71-71
143 - Robert Allenby (AUS) 72-71, Brendon de Jonge (ZIM) 75-68, Richard S. Johnson (SWE) 74-69, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 72-71, Arjun Atwal (IND) 72-71, Trevor Immelman (RSA) 73-70, Edoardo Molinari (ITA) 72-71
144 - Mathew Goggin (AUS) 70-74, Justin Rose (GBR) 71-73, Nathan Green 73-71, Marc Leishman (AUS) 73-71, Bi-o Kim (KOR) 73-71
Failed to qualify
145 - Fabian Gomez (ARG) 70-75, Fredrik Jacobson (SWE) 73-72, Stuart Appleby (AUS) 68-77, Robert Karlsson (SWE) 75-70
146 - Paul Casey (GBR) 78-68, Greg Chalmers (AUS) 74-72, Sunghoon Kang (KOR) 75-71, Martin Laird (GBR) 78-68
147 - Rory McIlroy (NIR) 75-72, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 75-72
149 - Camilo Villegas (COL) 75-74
151 - Henrik Stenson (SWE) 75-76
155 - David Hearn (CAN) 79-76