World no. 2, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Spanish golfer Alvaro Quiros both carded a one-under-par 69 to lie a shot clear on seven under.
McIlroy fell back into a tie for the lead with Quiros in the Hong Kong Open after bogeying two of his last three holes in the second round.
The U.S. Open Champion is third in the European Tour order of merit, US$ 1.55 million (£970,000) behind leader Luke Donald, who is not playing in Hong Kong.
A win would help to cut Donald’s lead heading into the Dubai World Championship.
McIlroy blamed his poor finish on a hectic schedule that he admits was self-inflicted.
‘The last 10 weeks have been long,’ according to McIlroy. ‘It has been an experience, something I can learn from in the future.’
Hong Kong Open second-round leaderboard:
-7: R McIlroy (Northern Ireland), A Quiros (Spain)
-6: P Pittayarat (Philippines), R Ramsay (Scotland)
-5: MA Jimenez (Spain), D Lee (Australia)
-3: YE Yang (South Korea)
-1: Poulter (England)
+1: P Harrington (Ireland)