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In-form Nathan Holman leads the way at halfway stage in Malaysia

Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Australia's Nathan Holman continued his brilliant start to the 2016 season to claim the halfway lead in the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

Holman had played just 15 European Tour events coming into the new campaign but claimed a maiden win at the Australian PGA Championship in December and went on to secure top-40 finishes in Qatar and Dubai.

And the 24-year-old from Melbourne carried on where he left off at Royal Selangor Golf Club, adding a 65 to his opening 64 to reach 13 under par, two shots ahead of England's Richard Bland.

"I think today's round was just as good," said the world No. 176, who responded to dropping his first shot of the week on the 14th with a hat trick of birdies.

"In the afternoon the conditions were a little bit harder and seeing your name up the top of that leaderboard can bring on some nerves but it was nice to be able to play really well and it was good fun to finish with a few birdies.

"I've been working hard on the putting for two weeks now, just on the alignment, and as soon as that got good it was really nice to start seeing the ball roll and holing some putts.

"After winning at home my next aim was to win a tournament overseas, so it's great to have the chance to tick that one off the list so soon. Then looking further ahead, getting into the top 100 in the world rankings is a realistic aim."

Bland, who is still seeking a first European Tour title in his 378th event, has yet to drop a shot after adding a flawless 65 to his opening 66.

"I'm very pleased obviously," the 43-year-old said. "To go round here without dropping a shot in two days takes some doing. Hopefully I can continue the run going over the weekend."

England's Danny Willett, Korea's Soomin Lee, Spain's Jorge Campillo and Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines share third place on eight under par, with Willett revealing he was suffering from the flu in pursuit of back-to-back wins following his victory in the Dubai Desert Classic a fortnight ago.

"I'm struggling a bit with my body," the world No. 13 said after a 69. "My energy levels collapsed on the back nine and I started making a few silly mistakes. I'm going to see the physio then catch up on some rest, because I'm feeling very tired.

"But the flags were also quite tricky today and the wind's picking up a bit, so I can't see the scoring being too ridiculous. And I would've taken eight under after two rounds."

Former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer, who had hoped a recent holiday had "cleared his head," missed the halfway cut by three shots after a 73 left him two over par.