Korea's Chung Joon moved into position for a maiden triumph on the Asian PGA Tour when he seized the halfway lead at the US$400,000 Maekyung Open on Friday.
As home players dominated the leader board which saw seven Koreans occupying the top nine positions, the 31-year-old Chung led the way with a four-under-par 68 which gave him a two-shot advantage at Nam Seoul Country Club.
Chung's two-day total of six-under-par 138 is ahead of India's Amandeep Johl (70) and Korean trio Anthony Kang (70), Suk Jong-ryul (71) and amateur Choi Jin-ho (69), who are tied second on 140.
First round pacesetter Kang Wook-soon stumbled to a 74 to lie in tied sixth place, three off the lead, alongside Australian Kim Felton and Koreans Ted Oh, the Tour's Rookie of the Year in 2001, and Choi Yoon-soo.
After missing the cut in his last two events, Chung showed a welcome return to form with matching 34s. Solid iron play led to birdies on the fourth, eighth, 14th, 15th, and 16th holes but he dropped his lone bogey on 17. In five seasons on the Asian PGA Tour, Chung's best outing was a tied fourth finish in the 1998 Indian Open.
Las Vegas-based Anthony Kang kept up his bid for a third Asian PGA Tour victory by shooting three birdies and an eagle while Johl, still searching for the elusive first victory, joined in the hunt with a 70, also highlighted by an eagle and three birdies.
Amateur player Choi emerged as the dark horse when he added a fine 69 to his opening 71 as he gave himself a shot of becoming the event's second straight amateur winner following Eddie Lee's win 12months ago.
Choi could have gone lower in his round if not for a bogey on 17 and a double bogey on 18but he was pleased to hold his ground against some of Asia's best players.
Defending champion Lee, a Korean-born New Zealander, carded a 73 to safely make the cut but he is well off the pace on 145.
Taiwan's Hong Chia-yuh produced the shot of the day when he registered the Tour's eighth albatross on the 16th hole en route to a 75 which helped him make the cut, set at 148,by one stroke.
Leading second round scores:
138 - Chung Joon (KOR) 70-68
140 - Choi Jin-ho [A] (KOR) 71-69, Suk Jong-ryul (KOR) 69-71, Amandeep Johl (IND) 70-70, Anthony Kang (KOR) 70-70
141 - Choi Yoon-soo (KOR) 71-70, Kim Felton (AUS) 72-69, Ted Oh (KOR) 71-70, Kang Wook-soon (KOR) 67-74
142 - Moon Sung-wook (KOR) 71-71, Chung Jae-hoon (KOR) 70-72, Kim Tae-hoon (KOR) 71-71, Richard Backwell (AUS) 69-73, Kim Hyung-tae (KOR) 71-71, Kim Kyung-Tae [A] (KOR) 74-68, Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 70-72, Sushi Ishigaki (JPN) 73-69, Mo Joong-kyung (KOR) 71-71, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 74-68 143 - Lee Jun-young (KOR) 70-73, Gerald Rosales (PHI) 72-71, Craig Kamps (RSA) 71-72, Unho Park (AUS) 73-70
144 - Kwon Jong-kil (KOR) 70-74, Danny Chia (MAS) 70-74, Chris Williams (RSA) 75-69, Han Young-kun (KOR) 72-72, Kim Bong-jin [A] (KOR) 73-71, Lim Hyung-soo (KOR) Jang Ik-jae (KOR) 71-73.