Matt Every capped a six-under par 64 with three birdies on Friday to seize the second-round lead at the $5.5 million Sony Open, the US PGA Tour's first full-field event of 2012.
Every's 10-under total of 130 gave him a two-shot lead over Canadian David Hearn and Sweden's Carl Pettersson. Hearn posted his second consecutive 66 on the par-70 Waialae Country Club course while Pettersson carded a 67 for 132.
Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge fired an eight-under 62 without a bogey to head a group on 133 that also included Pat Perez and Doug LaBelle, who both shot 67.
Every, who teed off on 10, nabbed his first birdie at the 12th, then picked up the pace after the turn. He birdied three and four, then closed his round with birdies at seven, eight and nine.
"Just played good," he said. "I just didn't make many mistakes and made some good putts, hit some good irons - just kind of normal stuff."
Every has the 36-hole lead for the first time on the PGA Tour, a good step for a player who thinks he has not made as much progress as he would like.
He puts that down to a difficult rookie season in 2010, when he broke his finger and was later arrested on a misdemeanor drug possession charge after authorities were called to a hotel room after marijuana was smelt coming from it.
Although the US PGA Tour typically does not discuss disciplinary measures handed out to players, Every confirmed he was suspended for three months.
"I don't do drugs," said Every, whose wife is expecting their first child in June.
"Wrong place, wrong time, perfect storm. And you know, I got three months out of it. It's over with. I'm not mad at the tour. They did what they had to do. I totally understand it. But it's over with."
Every didn't keep his tour card after 2010, then missed out in qualifying school and spent 2011 playing the Nationwide developmental tour.
"I kind of feel like a rookie out here," Every said. "My rookie year ... I almost kept my status and played half the tournaments that everybody else played.
"I feel like it was a pretty good year for me. I just didn't get to play much."
Overnight leader Graham DeLaet faded with a two-over 72. But Hearn kept the Canadian flag flying with a round that included an eagle at the par-five ninth and four birdies to offset two early bogeys.
De Jonge who had launched his season with a new putter in his bag on Thursday and carded a 71, switched back on Friday and was rewarded with a 62.
"I don't know why I switched," he said. "It was a mistake, obviously."