Fanling, Hong Kong (SportsNetwork.com) - Jbe Kruger carded a 4-under 66 on Friday to claim the lead at the end of two rounds of the Hong Kong Open.
Kruger, who is seeking his second career win on the European Tour, finished 36 holes at Hong Kong Golf Club at 7-under-par 133.
"I played well, I probably swung it the best I've swung it in a long time," said Kruger. "I'm excited and I'm playing better for a change. It's fun to play relaxed golf for a change and see what unfolds."
Stuart Manley shot 3-under 67 to sit in second place at 6-under 134, while Alex Cejka (67), Wade Ormsby (68) and Shiv Kapur (66) share third at minus-5.
First-round leader David Higgins struggled to a 4-over 74 during his second round to fall into a large group of players tied for 27th place at 2-under 138.
Higgins' troublesome round allowed Cejka to claim the clubhouse lead at 5- under at the conclusion of the morning wave.
Cejka opened his day with a bogey at the first, but bounced right back with a birdie at the par-3 second to return to 2-under.
The German would later record birdies at the sixth and eighth to make the turn at 4-under.
He dropped a shot at the 12th, but again bounced right back with consecutive gains at the 13th and 14th to reach 5-under. He parred his final four holes to remain there.
Kruger later used a sizzling back nine to race to the top of the leaderboard.
The South African had reached the turn at 1-under after recording three bogeys and a birdie over his first nine holes, but then caught fire over his inward nine.
Kruger's run began with four straight birdies from the 11th, including a 25- foot putt at the 12th, which allowed him to race to 5-under. Following a par at the 15th, he rolled in back-to-back gains at the 16th and 17th to claim the outright lead at 7-under before parring the last.
Manley, meanwhile, started on the 11th hole and countered birdies at the 13th, 17th and 18th with bogeys at Nos. 14 and 16 to remain at 4-under.
He moved to 7-under with birdies at the first, fourth and sixth before finding the water with his second shot at the 10th en route to a closing bogey.
"It's 36 holes, there's a lot of golf to go and a lot of good players around me, so I'll have to play well this weekend," stated Manley.
Earlier, Meesawat was the first to surpass Cejka when he birdied the first and fourth to move to 6-under.
He added another birdie at the seventh to pull two strokes ahead of Cejka, but later tripped to bogeys at the ninth and 15th to fall back to minus-5. He then closed with a bogey at the 18th to finish at 4-under.
NOTES: Kruger earned his first career win at the 2012 Avantha Masters ... Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez, who also won this event in 2005 and 2008, is currently tied for 14th place at 3-under-par 137 ... With a win this week, Jimenez can join Hsieh Yung-yo as the only four-time winners of this event ... The cut line was set at 1-over-par 141, with 75 players advancing to the weekend.