Miguel Angel Jiménez leads his Ryder Cup team-mate David Howell of England in the Omega Hong Kong Open after a three stroke swing over the closing three holes gave the Spaniard a two stroke advantage at Hong Kong Golf Club.
Jiménez, looking for a third win in the Far East this year following victories in China and Thailand on The 2004 European Tour International Schedule, birdied the 16th and 18th holes to add a 64 to his opening 65 for an 11 under par halfway total of 129 in the second event of the 2005 European Tour season, co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour.
Howell, meanwhile, dropped his first shot of the week when he bogeyed the last after driving into the trees and had to get up and down from a bunker to drop just the one shot. That gave him a second round 66 for outright second.
The third member of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup Team in the upper reaches of the leaderboard is the defending champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland, who shot a four under par 68 to lie on seven under par alongside South African Louis Oosthuizen and Challenge Tour graduate Alessandro Tadini of Italy.
"Miguel is probably the last player in the field I wanted to be four behind - he's obviously the man in form," said Harrington.
"A lot of times you don't pay attention to the 36 hole leader, but I'm sure he is hoping that we are all paying attention to him."
Jiménez, seeking his fifth win of 2004, said as he lit up a big Cuban cigar: "I'm very happy. I played very solid all day." His results in Asia this year have been first, sixth, first and second.
"I try to be myself on the golf course, try to hit good shots and enjoy myself. So I get into that mode and everything looks nice. I feel great on the golf course, I feel in the right mood. I'm creating the shots, anytime you are trying to create something, you are focussing. The game is there," he added.
Howell, who had chipped in for eagle on the long third and then added three birdies, said: "The longer you go without a bogey the more exciting it gets because there are not many who have gone through a tournament without one.
"But it's not going to be me this week now - and it was coming really. I'm just not comfortable with my swing. But I'm getting the job done and it's not all about how you're striking the ball.
"I'm in a lovely position. (But) Miguel is playing fantastic and I know he didn't sit here (in the interview) saying he was struggling with his game. I know he is very confident. He's going to be a tough man to beat. I feel I'm going to have to feel better about my game to actually win this event. To keep shooting these scores, when the pressure is on, you need to be comfortable, so hopefully I can find that feeling,"