New Zealander Ryan Fox took the clubhouse lead after a weather-hit second day of the Saudi International on Friday, with world number one Dustin Johnson only two shots behind.
Fox carded a second straight five-under-par 65 to reach 10-under overall and sit tied atop the leaderboard with Scotland's Stephen Gallacher, who will complete the final six holes of his second round on Saturday.
Masters champion Johnson is five-under through 14 holes for his second round and eight-under for the tournament.
The American, who won the inaugural event in Saudi Arabia in 2019 and finished runner-up to Graeme McDowell last year, birdied his final two holes before bad light brought play to a close.
Johnson is still yet to make a bogey this week.
An earlier two-hour delay due to dangerous conditions meant the later starters will have to finish round two on Saturday.
Fox, the world number 208, rolled in six birdies but bogeyed the ninth, his final hole, to slip into a tie overnight with former Ryder Cup winner Gallacher.
"This is what you play golf for, to be in contention," said Fox, looking for his second European Tour win.
"And it's been a while since I've been in this position... I'll just go out and enjoy it on the weekend and see if I can keep playing how I'm playing. I know if I do, I've got a good chance on Sunday."
Andy Sullivan and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger sit at eight-under after their second rounds, with Sweden's Marcus Kinhult also on that number with two holes of his round remaining.
The chasing pack, featuring a host of big names, will be confident of reeling in Fox and Gallacher over the weekend.
English duo Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose, who is through 15 holes, are both at seven-under, while in-form Norwegian Viktor Hovland also surged into contention with a 66, in the trickier morning weather, to reach six-under.
The 23-year-old, who finished joint-second at Torrey Pines last week, has won two PGA Tour titles and will be hoping to qualify for Europe's Ryder Cup team ahead of the delayed matches later this year.
Hovland made four birdies in a bogey-free round, playing with Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter.
"It was awesome (playing with Ian)," the world number 12 said. "He's obviously a very passionate guy, and it's cool to see that passion come out, even though it's not a Ryder Cup...
"I'd love to maybe be in the same setting some day."
US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau endured a frustrating day, though, and is six shots off the leaders and one-over par through 14 holes in his second round.