(CNN) -- Ian Poulter struck a flawless round of 60 to seize the lead at the halfway stage of the Hong Kong Open.
The Englishman's ten-under-par round was a career best and catapulted him to the top of the leaderboard on 13-under -- one shot in front of American Anthony Kang, who hit a 61.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy looked to be on course for a share of the lead until he tarnished his superb round with a double bogey at the last.
But it was Poulter who led the way with ten birdies, including five in a row from hole seven.
The 34-year-old hit some sparkling shots, including an approach to within three feet on the 11th, a 15 foot birdie putt on 13 and a 12-foot putt at the next.
Despite his stellar performance, the European Ryder Cup star still felt he could have got under the 60 barrier.
"It is one of those courses where if you can get off to a good start you really feel you can shoot a good number," he told the European Tour website.
"I had five birdies from the seventh and as soon as that happened I felt there were plenty of chances coming in. I am happy but slightly disappointed."
Poulter's Ryder Cup teammate McIlroy should have hit the summit but after five birdies and an eagle, he dropped two shots at the last after finding a bunker and then water to sit on 11-under.
McIlroy said: "The great thing about this golf course is the front nine is a bit tricky and the back nine offers you chances.
"You have to make yourself stay patient. It's only Friday, and I had to keep myself under control out there.
"He (Poulter) is playing very well and he'll be tough to beat this week. I'll just have to go out this weekend and try and play really well."
Kang smashed in nine birdies in his round, while U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell is on ten-under after a five-under round of 65.
He is battling to overtake Martin Kaymer in the European Tour's Race to Dubai standings before next week's season-ending Dubai World Championships.
He said: "It is tough not to get frustrated with this golf course because you feel you should birdie every hole. You have got to make yourself stay patient."