Hennie Otto and Jbe Kruger reached 9 under Friday to share the clubhouse lead at the Maybank Malaysian Open before the second round was suspended two hours early because of a threat of thunderstorms. The event is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Asian Tour.
The pair continued the strong play of South Africans established by Charl Schwartzel with a 64 and Louis Oosthuizen 66 in the first round.
The Maybank Malaysian Open kicks off a three-week Asian Swing in which the European Tour also will stop in China and South Korea.
Former Masters champion Schwartzel had five bogeys and one birdie on Friday to drop to 5 under through 12 holes before the players were taken off the West Course at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. Two birdies from Oosthuizen in the same 12 holes allowed him to reach 8 under, and he was alone in third one shot off the lead.
Otto shot an eight-birdie, no-bogey second-round 64 to move to the top of the clubhouse leaderboard with eight birdies despite arriving in Malaysia too late to play a practice round.
''I played the course blind on Thursday,'' he said. ''But today I hit it close for most of my birdies and got on in two at all the par 5s except the 18th to lay the foundations of my score. 'On this course if you can get under par on all of the par 5s and build from there, you can make a score and I managed to do that.''
Kruger also carded eight birdies, his only hiccup coming with a bogey at the par-5 third to go around in 65. Afterward, Kruger said there was a friendly rivalry among all the South Africans in the event.
''I think we have -- all of us South Africans have -- come into this tournament with a bit of form,'' he said. ''It is not a case of giving Charl or Louis a run for their money, it is just fun to be in contention.''
Martin Kaymer moved within two shots of the lead with a second-round 67.
''I played really well today and gave myself a lot of birdie chances,'' Kaymer said. ''If I can make a few more putts, I feel I can really get into the tournament. I will be a few shots behind after today so I will approach tomorrow a bit more aggressively.''
Oosthuizen and Schwartzel made a 30-hour journey from the United States to Kuala Lumpur to take their place in the field, and while Schwartzel showed no ill effects on Thursday, when he shot 64 to take the overnight lead, he labored Friday morning.
The 27-year-old carded three bogeys and one birdie on the front nine, and then also bogeyed the 11th shortly before play was suspended. That left him four off the pace on 5 under par, two behind Kaymer and American David Lipsky.
Danny Willett was the best-placed Englishman on 6 under after carding back-to-back rounds of 69. His round was highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 fifth, as he also mixed three birdies with a pair of bogeys to ensure he will be well placed for the weekend.