Turin - Home favourite Francesco Molinari carded a second round 67 to grab a share of the lead on nine-under par at the Italian Open on Friday.
The Turin-born 30-year-old, a winner of the event in 2006, heads into the third round on top of the leaderboard alongside Chile's Felipe Aguilar and Simon Thornton of Ireland.
"I said at the beginning of the week I didn't want to think of anything but try to enjoy the week, try to make some birdies and I'll try to do the same Saturday and Sunday," Molinari told www.europeantour.com.
He added: "It doesn't really matter that I won before, this is a special, special week for me. I was emotional yesterday (Thursday) on the tenth tee at 8am with only 50 people watching so now with all these people on my course it's a great feeling.
"It has been brilliant so far so let's hope it continues to stay that way over the weekend. You have to embrace it, have fun; I smile on the course when I see people I know and I know they are rooting for me so I just try to enjoy it."
One shot off the leading trio is Molinari's Ryder Cup team-mate Nicolas Colsaerts who bogeyed the 16th and 18th to return a 71, Ireland's David Higgins and England's Steve Webster
"It's always tough to follow a day of prime striking," said Colsaerts, who shot 65 on Thursday to share the lead overnight.
"I missed only one green yesterday and everything was going my way pretty much.
"Then I started with a bogey today with a seven iron in my hand so that doesn't really get you in the greatest of moods."
Former Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal, whose last European Tour win came in the Mallorca Classic eight years ago, is four off the lead on five under after adding a 68 to his opening 71 to lie five under par.
Leading second round scores from the Italian Open on Friday at the Golf Club Torino:
135 - Felipe Aguilar (CHI) 69 66, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 68 67, Simon Thornton 68 67
136 - Steve Webster 67 69, Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 65 71, David Higgins 67 69
137 - Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 65 72, Marcus Fraser (AUS) 66 71
138 - Ricardo Gonzalez (ARG) 65 73, Hennie Otto (RSA) 71 67, Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 71 67, Alvaro Quiros (ESP) 71 67, Julien Quesne (FRA) 70 68, Seve Benson 68 70, Renato Paratore (ITA) 72 66
139 - James Kingston (RSA) 68 71, Matthew Nixon 70 69, Espen Kofstad (NOR) 70 69, Joakim Lagergren (SWE) 72 67, Matthew Baldwin 71 68, Jaco Van Zyl (RSA) 70 69, Johan Edfors (SWE) 69 70, Jose-Maria Olazabal (ESP) 71 68, Mark Foster 74 65
140 - Robert Jan Derksen (NED) 71 69, Damien McGrane 71 69, Thomas Aiken (RSA) 69 71, Mark Tullo (CHI) 70 70, Matteo Manassero (ITA) 70 70, Mikko Korhonen (FIN) 70 70, Fredrik Andersson Hed (SWE) 73 67