The eight-time Asian Tour winner totalled 10-under-par 132 to hold a one-shot advantage over Dylan Frittelli (66) of South Africa and Laurie Canter (66) of England at the Euro one million (approximately USD 1.07 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour, Sunshine Tour and European Tour.
SSP Chawrasia added a bogey free 67 to get to six-under and T-13, while Shiv Kapur made a smart move up with a 69 and he is now T-25.
The only other Indians making the cut were Shubhankar Sharma (72) at T-37 and Gaganjeet Bhullar (71) at T-54th.
Honey Baisoya, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Rahil Gangjee, Khalin Joshi, S Chikkarangappa, Chiragh Kumar, Himmat Rai and Sujjan Singh missed the cut, which fell at one-under 141.
Speaking of the conditions, Atwal said, "I thought it was a lot more trickier. The wind wasnt blowing at a consistent pace and it would gust and you would look like a fool out there. I was pleased with how I played. The putter was definitely not as hot as the first day. I was hitting the ball just as good but it is tough to follow up a 62 with another low round. Ill take this one-under."
On his calm demeanour, he added, Im always calm. People who know me know that I dont get fired up or lose my temper. Im pretty much the same all the time. Im really looking forward to the weekend.
On the jet lag, he said, I feel as good as I can feel for my age. Im feeling a bit sore but Ill be okay tomorrow.
Chawrasia, who is gunning for the Order of Merit, said, It was a bogey-free round so Im very happy. I started with a bogey-bogey yesterday then I fought back very nicely. It was a good comeback and today I just continued from where I left off.
There was no wind on the first five holes but it started to blow. I think it was blowing stronger than yesterday. Im playing well and Ive been working hard on my game. I can see that my game is getting better. Thats why I think Ive had good results in the last few weeks except the final round in Hong Kong!
After playing a bad round, I need to delete it after 10 minutes. I dont want to carry these bad memories with me. Obviously when you play bad, you feel bad so you dont want to take that with you.
Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines stayed within striking distance following a 68 to tie in fourth place alongside Jose-Filipe Lima (66) of Portugal and Ockie Strydom (68) of South Africa. They are two shots back of Atwal at the Heritage Golf Club.
Atwal, who won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2003, kept up his challenge to end a three-year title drought after posting three birdies against two bogeys on a wind-swept day.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)