China's Feng in full control in Dubai
Feng Shanshan, who became the first player from mainland China to win a major on the LPGA Tour earlier this year, took a stranglehold on the €500 000 Dubai Ladies Masters on Thursday as she opened up a four-shot lead at the halfway stage.
At the Majlis course of Emirates Golf Club, the world No 6 and the highest ranked player in the field shot a seven-under par 65 to tally 13-under par 131 in the season-ending event of the Ladies European Tour.
England's Felicity Johnson made five birdies on her back nine, including one on the 18th, for a 67 to take solo second place at nine-under par 135.
Caroline Masson of Germany, the only player in the field who can upstage Money List leader Carlota Ciganda, scored a second consecutive four-under par 68 and was tied for the third place at eight-under par 136 with three others.
France's Joanna Klatten matched Feng's 65 as the low round of the day to move up to tied third place along with compatriot Gwladys Nocera (68) and American Cindy Lacrosse (69).
Ciganda kept pace with Masson with a 68 of her own that tied her for the eighth place at six-under par 138.
Defending champion Alexis Thompson shot a 68 and was six shots behind the leader at seven-under par 137. Michelle Wie (73) closed her round with a double bogey, but made the cut easily at one-under par 143.
Two early birdies set the tone for Feng, and she never looked back after that.
"I have shot 66 several times this year, so yesterday, during the first round, I wanted to go lower than that but it did not work out," said Feng, winner of the LPGA Championship and Japan Open this year.
"So, I am really happy that I managed to get a 65 in.
"I played really well but I did feel the pressure on the first tee. But the two birdies on the next two holes calmed me down and I was all right after that. I hit some good shots and I putted really well.
"I am happy with my position, but there are still two days to go. I am not putting any pressure on myself to win the tournament. I still maintain that I will be very happy if I finish inside the top-5."
Johnson, who made two bogeys and seven birdies during the day, said: "It was a kind of very straightforward round. I hit the ball great again. Hit a lot of greens and had good opportunities, so very happy with my work so far this week.
"It's always fun to be in the last few groups, and I knew if I birdied the last, I would be in the last group. I'm looking forward to playing with Shanshan tomorrow."
England's four-time champion Melissa Reid pulled out with a hand injury after a round of 76 on Wednesday.
LEADING SECOND-ROUND SCORES
131 - Shanshan Feng (CHN) 66-65
135 - Felicity Johnson (ENG) 68-67
136 - Joanna Klatton (FRA) 71-65, Gwladys Nocera (FRA) 68-68, Caroline Masson (GER) 68-68, Cindy Lacrosse (USA) 67-69
137 - Lexi Thompson (USA) 69-68,
138 - Carlota Ciganda (ESP) 70-68, Lorie Kane (CAN) 68-70,
139 - Jennie Lee (USA) 70-69, Bree Arthur (AUS) 69-70, Lydia Hall (WAL) 68-71,
140 - Beth Allen (USA) 70-70, Caroline Hedwall (SWE) 69-71, Florentyna Parker (ENG) 66-74, Julieta Granada (PAR) 70-70, Linda Wessberg (SWE) 70-70, Klara Spilkova (CZE) 67-73, Dewi Claire Schreefel (NED) 69-71
141 - Tandy Cunningham (RSA) 72-69, Sarah Kemp (AUS) 69-72, Stacy Lee Bregman (RSA) 69-72, Trish Johnson (ENG) 70-71, Diana Luna (ITA) 70-71, Line Vedel (DEN) 69-72, Nontaya Srisawang (THA) 68-73, Anne-Lise Caudal (FRA) 68-73,
142 - Holly Aitchison (ENG) 70-72, Elizabeth Bennett (ENG) 69-73, Ashleigh Simon (RSA) 68-74, Kristie Smith (AUS) 70-72, Laura Davies (ENG) 71-71, Stacey Keating (AUS) 72-70, Maria Verchenova (RUS) 71-71