Morland established a new 36-hole record for the tournament at 15-under-par 129 and grabbed a four-shot lead over John Morse and Rob Bradley. The old mark of 131 was set by Brad Fabel in 1995 and equaled by Joe Durant in 1996 and again by Fabel a year later.
This is the final full-field event on the 2002 docket with the Tour Championship looming next week at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Only the top-55 on the money list gain entrance into the field and Morland needs a victory this week to play next week.
'I played solid again today,' said Morland. 'One of my main goals was to win this week so I could keep my card and get to the Tour Championship.'
Morland shared the first-round lead with Emlyn Aubrey, but broke out early with a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 2. Morland collected three birdies in a row from the fifth, but ran into trouble at No. 8. He missed a 15-foot par save there, but rebounded on the back nine.
Morland opened the second nine with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 10th and made it back-to-back birdies at 11 with a 12-footer. He cashed in on his third birdie in a row at 12 after an eight-footer found the bottom of the cup.
The 33-year-old, who played in 20 events on the PGA Tour in 2002, once again two-putted for birdie, this time at the 534-yard 17th. That polished off his round of 65 and gave him the new 36-hole mark.
'Fairways, greens and putts,' said Morland, referring to the keys to his round. 'I putted well and that has been the difference in how I played earlier this year to where I'm at right now.'
Morse tallied five birdies and one bogey Friday en route to a 4-under 68.
'Sometimes I feel like I'm going in the right direction,' said Morse. 'I feel like I'm playing decent but not great.'
Bradley flew up the leaderboard after a bogey on his second hole, the 11th. He tallied nine birdies the rest of the way to shoot a 64 and tie for second place at minus-11.
Steven Alker is alone in fourth at 10-under par. Joe Daley (68), Tag Ridings (67), David Branshaw (68), Ben Bates (70), Jeff Freeman (68), Grover Justice (66) and Stiles Mitchell (67) share fifth place at 9-under-par 135.
Aubrey managed an even-par 72 and is part of a group tied for 12th at minus-8.
The 36-hole cut fell at 3-under-par 141 with 74 players advancing to weekend action.
Full-field scores from the Southern Open