Travis Smyth found an extra gear to move into the lead after the second round of the Yeangder TPC on the Asian Tour on Friday as he looks to defend his title.

After a seven-under 65 on Thursday, he followed up with a 67 at Linkou International Golf and Country Club to lead by one at the halfway stage on 12-under from 2012 winner Gaganjeet Bhullar from India and Smyth’s fellow Australian Jack Thompson.

A further shot back are Thailand’s Poom Saksansin, Pavit Tangkamolprasert, Phachara Khongwatmai, and Nitithorn Thippong, Lee Chieh-po from Chinese-Taipei — second here last year — Justin Quiban from the Philippines and Swede Bjorn Hellgren.

“It was pretty tough conditions today,” said Australian Smyth, whose victory last season remain his only win on the Asian Tour.

“The wind was mainly across on like just about every hole, so it was hard to get pin high — had to be very patient. It wasn’t as clean as it was yesterday. But to shoot five-under, it was a pretty good score. I would have been happy with anything under par to be honest, it was it was tough.”

One birdie on the front and four on the back, including on 18, saw him snatch the outright lead at the end, to set up a thrilling weekend.

He added: “I mean, it’s good that [last year’s win] is in the back of my mind. It’s in the memory bank, but that was last year, this is this year. A lot has changed, a lot can happen. A lot of golf to be played, so I just keep trying to hit good shots and good putts and add it up at the end.”

First-round leader Natipong Srithong from Thailand carded a 73 and is eight-under in a tie for 17th.

Main image: Asian Tour