VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) -Defending champion Luke Donald moved up the leaderboard at the BMW PGA Championship on Friday by shooting a second straight 4-under 68, leaving him four strokes behind leader James Morrison.
Morrison, ranked No. 236, shot a bogey-free 64 - just two off the course record set by Robert Karlsson in 2010 - in perfect conditions at Wentworth to claim the lead at 12-under 132 midway through the second round at the European Tour's flagship event.
The second-ranked Donald is tied for second with overnight co-leader David Drysdale (70) at 8 under after making five birdies and an eagle in a dominant putting performance.
"I'm feeling strong on the greens," Donald said. "Every time I've had opportunities, I'm seeing the line and got the speed down and making some good putts."
Defending the title would lift Donald back to No. 1 above Rory McIlroy, who shot 2 over on Thursday and was in danger of missing the cut for the second straight event as he teed off for his second round.
Peter Lawrie of Ireland (71) and Alvaro Quiros of Spain (70) are also in the hunt at 7 under but pegging back Donald and a rampant Morrison will be difficult at this rate.
Donald is bidding to become only the third player, after Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie, to win this tournament two years in a row and he has moved into a strong position heading into the weekend.
After opening with a bogey, the Englishman picked up shots at Nos. 2, 4 and 5 and finished strongly as the wind picked up with more birdies at the 16th and 17th.
Donald said defending the title and not supplanting McIlroy at the top of the rankings was foremost in his mind.
"I hear this every week. A situation like at The Players where Rory missed the cut (a fortnight ago) and I had the opportunity, then I might focus on it," Donald said. "But to be honest, the focus is always to try to win the tournament."
Donald can't see any player climbing past Morrison's score by the end of the second round, with his fellow Englishman having already picked up twice the number of shots Donald did to win the event last year.
Four birdies in five holes around the turn left Morrison clear at the top of the leaderboard and he holed an eagle 3 at the last to put even more distance to his rivals.
"Definitely one of the best rounds I've ever had and probably one of the easiest, funnily enough," said Morrison, who played cricket for England's youth team as a teenager. "It felt easy. I wish golf was like that every day."
Morrison, who lives a few miles away from Wentworth, has just one tournament win to his name - the Madeira Islands Open in 2010.
Tenth-ranked Justin Rose, who played alongside Donald, shot a 71 and is six shots off the lead.