Local favourite Danny Chia bagged two eagles to soar into a three stroke lead after the second round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
The 36 year old began the day four shots off the lead but carded a seven under 65 to reach the halfway stage at 13 under, three ahead of Sweden's Alexander Noren, who was alone in second place on ten under after a one under 71.
Overnight leader Noh Seung-yul of Korea slipped back to third on nine under after following his opening round 62 with a 73 while the English duo of Nick Dougherty (70) and Simon Griffiths (66) joined former Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Liang Wen-Chong of China (71) and Australia's Adam Blyth (70) in a tie for fourth on eight under.
Simon Dyson moved into contention on seven under after recording the tournament's first hole-in-one in his round of 66 and, after beginning with a six-over-par 78, World Number 11 Anthony Kim just survived the cut after improving to one under with a seven under 65.
The day, though, belonged to Chia, who shot a six under 66 on day one but made up the deficit on Noh with birdies on four of his first eight holes after teeing off on the back nine.
The Malaysian missed a pair of short birdie attempts at the first and third after making the turn but took the outright lead when he teed off to within a foot of the cup on the par four fourth and holed out for eagle to move to 12 under.
He dropped his only shot of the day at the next hole but pitched in from 90 yards for another eagle on the seventh to stretch his advantage in the US$ 2million tournament, which is co-sanctioned by The European and Asian Tours.
It is a familiar position for Chia, who shared the lead with Dougherty and India's Jyoti Randhawa at last year's Maybank Malaysian Open before dropping out of contention with a 78 in the third round.
"I played really good and I am very happy," said the Malaysian.
"I kept telling myself to be calm out there. My biggest concern is to not get too emotional but I played well on the front nine and told myself to be focused.
"I eagled the fourth and then chipped in at the seventh and my club went sky high. That was nice.
"It looks like my game plan the last two days has been pretty good so I hope to stick to it during the weekend."
Noren and Noh were within striking distance of Chia's total at the start of their afternoon rounds but both players failed to sparkle after brilliant opening rounds.
Noren, who had two birdies and a bogey in his round of 71, was let down by his putter on the grainy greens.
"I probably hit the ball better than I did yesterday," said the Swede, who opened with a nine under 63.
"I putted as badly today as I did well yesterday. Out here, the way the greens are with the grain, when you are putting well you just kind of add a little bit to the stroke and they go in.
"But when you get a little bit of doubt in your mind, you start to see all sorts of breaks in the greens and I suppose the confidence just goes a little bit."
After carding a 66 in his opening round, Dougherty had a more subdued day, although his two under 70 kept him in a position to challenge the front runners during the weekend.
"I think today didn't come quite as easily as yesterday - I didn't hole as many putts," said the Liverpudlian.
"But I think, all in all, to be able to shoot two under on a day like that when not a lot happens is good. It keeps me in contention."
Dyson has finished third at the Malaysian Open the last two years and is in contention once again after acing the 177 yard par three fifth with a seven iron.
"I hit it a lot more right than I wanted but it got a beautiful kick left and started rolling down the hill," said the Yorkshireman of his second hole-in-one on The European Tour.
"It was always going to hit the green because of the slope but for it to go in was one of those little pieces of luck that you need."