Paul Peterson, Maximilian Kieffer and Lucas Herbert set the early clubhouse target on day two of the Maybank Championship but they could not knock afternoon starter Nacho Elvira off the top of the leaderboard.
American Peterson carded five birdies and a single bogey on Friday as he followed up Thursday's 70 with a second-round 68, while Australian Herbert closed his round with a birdie to sit alongside Peterson on six under par.
Germany's Kieffer joined them after firing three birdies on his back nine to sign for a 67.
But overnight co-leader Elvira, who began the day on seven under, was still the man to catch after opening his second round with back to back birdies to jump to nine under.
Starting from the tenth, Peterson made a bright start on Friday morning, reaching the turn in 34 after picking up shots at the 11th and 18th.
He picked up where he left off as he made his way down the stretch, making another gain at the long first before tapping in his birdie putt at the third after he had almost holed his approach.
The 2016 D+D REAL Czech Masters champion then holed his birdie putt from around ten feet at the fifth to join Elvira and fellow first round co-leader Marcus Fraser on seven under.
But Peterson dropped his only shot of the day at the sixth to slip back to six under.
Peterson said: "I love this place. I like coming to Malaysia in general. We got off to a good start and put ourselves in a good spot going into the weekend.
"I made the decision last week to go home and get a bit of rest going into this week and India, as they're two events that I have played well at in the past. I wanted to come in refreshed and recharged.
"Right now I'm liking the decision that I made to do that. Looking forward to another couple of hot days in Malaysia."
Herbert, also starting at the tenth tee, made a hat-trick of birdies from the 17th before surrendering a bogey at the second.
He got the shot back at the third, only to card another bogey on the short fourth.
I'm very happy with the way I'm playing - Maximilian Kieffer
But he made amends with a closing birdie on the ninth hole to join Peterson in the clubhouse on six under.
After carding one birdie and one bogey in his first five holes, Kieffer made three birdies in a row at the eighth, ninth and tenth to propel himself up the leaderboard.
He picked up another shot at the 14th before finishing his round with a birdie at the 18th to jump to six under.
Kieffer said: "I'm very happy with the way I'm playing. Since I started working with my new coach last year, I've been steadily getting better.
"Just focus on the process, that's all you can do, and it's been working for me."
Last week's winner Guido Migliozzi was among the large group another shot back, alongside Masahiro Kawamura, Prom Meesawat, Zach Murray and Scott Hend.