Alex Noren produced a second successive round of 66 to move into a share of the lead at the Scottish Open with Italian Francesco Molinari.
Swede Noren joined Molinari, who carded a 70, at the top of the leaderboard on 12 under.
Matteo Manassero, 19, needs a top-five finish for a spot at The Open next week and his 64 moved him one off the lead.
England's Luke Donald is three off the lead after a 68, while American Phil Mickelson's 64 has him on seven under.
Mickelson was in danger of missing the cut after a first round 73 but is in sight of the lead as he ended a run of eight successive over-par rounds, something that had never happened to him before.
"I'm really glad I added this tournament," said the left-hander, who decided to seek an invitation to play in the tournament while on holiday with his family in Italy.
"I just needed to play more - I've only played three tournaments the last couple of months.
"It's very helpful to see my game progress so quickly. I'm very lucky because I've got a very supportive family and when I was thinking about adding it after missing the cut last week [wife] Amy had the same idea simultaneously.
"It was very important [for his hopes next week] that I have a couple more rounds here.
"It will give [me] a chance now on the weekend to have a couple more days of working on it.
"Hopefully it will get a little bit nastier because it's supposed to be some tough weather conditions [for the Open] next week."
Manassero is the European Tour's youngest ever champion and has two wins to his name so far this year as he bids to secure his place at The Open, which starts on 19 July.
"The Open is on my mind and this is my last chance," he said.
"I would really love to be in The Open. I like links golf - it has a special atmosphere."
Ricardo Gonzalez, of Argentina, is level with Manassero, with world number one and defending champion Donald lurking close behind.
Paul Casey, Paul Lawrie and Colin Montgomerie failed to make the cut.
Montgomerie finished one under and Lawrie two under, while Casey's lack of form continued.
The former world number three has made only one cut since dislocating his shoulder while snowboarding in the United States on Christmas Eve.