Molinari's round included seven birdies and three bogeys, with a 20-foot birdie putt by the 18th hole worth a one-stroke lead at 6-under 138 after 36 holes.
First-round leader James Kingston staggered to a 5-over 77 and dropped into a tie for 20th, five strokes behind Molinari.
Molinari opened play Friday with a bogey but was 3-under the rest of the front nine. He came back from a bogey at the 10th hole with three birdies in a four-hole span. Molinari slipped back with a 16th-hole bogey before the 20-footer at 18 left him alone in the lead.
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