Luke Donald shot a second round of 66 to move within two shots of the lead at the halfway point of the Northern Trust Open in California.
The Englishman, playing in his first tournament since Novemeber, sits on seven under par, well within touching distance of joint leaders Bae Sang-moon and Fredrik Jacobson.
Donald, who was 18th overnight after a solid opening round, made his move on Friday as seven birdies against two bogey saw him climb to fifth place.
He could have even had a share of third alongside Americans John Merrick and John Rollins but for a dropped shot on his penultimate hole.
"Happy with my score, obviously coming off a pretty good break, you never know with how you're going to deal with being back in competition again but certainly a big improvement today, ball striking wise and my short game has been very sharp," Donald told the PGA Tour's official website.
"I've been excited about that. It's been a big key to my score so far, and, yeah, excited to be in the mix again."
On the top of the pile though were Jacobson and Bae, both of carded rounds of 65 to add to opening efforts of 68, allowing the duo to move from sixth to first.
Jacobson said: "Obviously I take a lot out of that, just being in contention again. I've had some good practice sessions before, but to bring it on the course and play under pressure, that's what it's about."
Merrick and Rollins followed after they signed for rounds of 66 and 65 respectively. World No 8 Lee Westwood was one shot behind Donald in a share of eight after his second straight round of 68.
Alongside Westwood on six under were major winners Charl Schwartzel and Webb Simpson, while overnight leader Matt Kuchar was among the players on five under having carded a two-over 73.
Defending champion Bill Haas finished on the same score as Kuchar while Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson were all one shot further back.
Among the remainder of the British contingent, Brian Davis, Greg Owen, David Lynn and Ross Fisher all made the cut, but Martin Laird and Graeme McDowell missed out.
Other big names to miss the cut included Dustin Johnson, Padraig Harrington, Mike Weir, Zach Johnson, Geoff Ogilvy, Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover.