KUALA LUMPUR: Amy Yang held off the charging pack to extend her lead to three strokes as the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia reached the halfway mark at TPC Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
South Korean Yang, leading by two after the first round, fired an eagle on the 11th hole in a two-under 69 in the second round for a two-day total of 10-under 132 to stay on course for her third career US LPGA Tour title.
Taiwan's Candie Kung and South Korean Hur Mi-jung both fired six-under 65s to join Sweden's Anna Nordqvist (68) in a three-way tie for second on 135.
A shot behind are South Koreans Jang Ha-na and Jenny Shin, American Michelle Wie, Spaniard Azahara Munoz and China's Feng Shanshan, the 2014 winner in Kuala Lumpur.
Defending champion Jessica Korda improved on her opening 71 to card a 68 and lie seven shots off the pace.
Yang, who holed out from 125 yards using a pitching wedge for her eagle on 11, finished strongly after returning from a one-hour rain delay to birdie the 16th to add to her 63 on Thursday.
"I was getting a little frustrated about not making putts and I was getting hungry," Yang said of the rain delay. "So I went back, ate lunch, and it actually gave me some time to think about what was going on and think about the next three, how to finish, so it helped."
Kung had six birdies in her round and was briefly tied for the lead before Yang pulled away with the eagle.
"There were some tough pin placements out there today, a lot tougher than yesterday, but I was able to hit it close and make the putts," said Kung, who last won on the LPGA Tour in 2008.
"Yesterday, I didn't make any putts at all. But today, luckily, they all went in. If I can make some putts here and there, that could be very helpful."
World No 1 Lydia Ko charged up the leaderboard when she reached five-under with two holes to play, only to go bogey-double bogey on holes eight and nine for a two-under 69 and a total of 140.
"Obviously, that's not that great to end with a bogey and double on the last two holes, but overall, I think I played more solid today compared to yesterday, so it's good signs going into the weekend," said New Zealander Ko.
Ko is in a battle with Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn for end-of-season Player of the Year and money list honours, but the latter did herself no favours by carding a four-over 75 to slip three shots behind Ko.
A day after earning praise for an even-par 71, Malaysia's Jean Chua crashed to a 15-over 86 and fell to second-from-bottom on 157, two ahead of amateur Winnie Ng (81).
Nur Durriyah Damian, a local amateur, fired the best round of the day among the nine Malaysians in the field, with her 71 taking her to a total of 146, level with Malaysian professional Kelly Tan (74).