Ted Purdy, the winner at last week's EDS Byron Nelson Championship, posted a 5-under 65 in the second round to move into a tie for second place at 9-under-par 131. He was joined there by D.J. Trahan. Kirk Triplett, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, is one stroke further back at minus-8.
Perry, who won this event in 2003, got off to a hot start with a two-putt birdie on the first at Colonial Country Club. He came right back with a 15-foot birdie putt on two to get to 7 under.
'I birdied the first two holes,' said Perry. 'It got me off to a good start, and relaxed me and got me into a nice rhythm.'
The 44-year-old dropped a sand wedge within 10 feet of the hole to set up birdie at the sixth. Perry moved into a share of the lead with a birdie at the ninth.
Around the turn, Perry knocked his third shot to the par-5 11th to 3 feet and rolled that in for birdie. The eight-time winner on the PGA Tour remained hot with his irons as he hit a 7-iron to 4 feet at the 16th.
Perry sank that putt to get to 11 under. He then dropped a pitching-wedge within 8 feet at the 17th. He drained that birdie try and parred the last to cap a bogey-free round.
'Man, it was hot out there, though. I was really melting,' commented Perry on Friday's 90-plus degree temperatures. 'I started feeling a little goofy on 16, but I was able to make two birdies on 16 and 17. Maybe I need to feel that way more often.
'But the guys are going to have to watch it, the greens are firming up. It's going to get hotter and hotter the next two days. I see a lot of changes in the golf course. That is going to be interesting to see how the golf course changes in two more days.'
Purdy began his round on the back nine. He got up and down for birdie on the 11th to move to minus-5. He came back with a birdie on 13, then kicked in a 3-foot birdie putt on 16.
The 31-year-old got up and down again for birdie on the first, his 10th. Purdy stumbled to a bogey at the next as his second shot stuck under the lip of a greenside bunker.
Purdy atoned for the error, as he drained a 20-foot birdie try at three. He moved into a tie for second with a 3-foot birdie putt at the sixth before parring his final three holes. Purdy is looking to become only the second player to win the Byron Nelson and the Colonial in the same season. Ben Hogan is the only player to do it previously, way back in 1946.
'I felt real comfortable hitting the ball on the fairway,' Purdy said. 'I was able to find most of the greens and when I didn't I had a relatively easy chip.'
Trahan opened with a birdie on the first. However, he stumbled to bogeys at four and five to fall back to minus-5. The 24-year-old dropped in a 10-foot birdie putt on six to get one stroke back.
The Clemson University product tripped to another bogey on the eighth. He erased that error with a birdie on No. 9. On the back nine, Trahan converted consecutive birdie putts from the 11th to move to 8 under. He birdied the last to share second place.
'The first two rounds have been great,' said Trahan. 'I felt like I had a good game plan going into Thursday. And so far I have executed very, very nicely. It's a great feeling.'
Steve Stricker posted a 5-under 65 to move to 7-under-par 133. He was joined in a tie for fifth by Billy Mayfair (66) and Rod Pampling (67).
First-round leader Patrick Sheehan tripped to a 2-over 72 on Friday. He is one stroke further back at minus-6 alongside Joe Durant, Brandt Jobe and Briny Baird.
The cut line fell at 1-over-par 141, with 72 players moving on to the weekend. Among those missing out were Chris DiMarco, Sergio Garcia and Davis Love III, all plus-2, as well as Rich Beem (144), Todd Hamilton (145) and Mike Weir (147).