China's Shanshan Feng posted a second-round seven-under 65 to lead by four strokes at the Dubai Ladies Masters on Thursday as the Australian contingent again struggled to make ground on the leaders.
Feng, the overnight joint leader with Englishwoman Florentyna Parker, carded eight birdies and a bogey in the equal-best round of the day to reach 13-under overall at the Emirates Golf Club.
Starting her round from the 10th, Feng recorded picked up shots on holes 11, 12, 14, 16 and 17 to make the turn at five under in the Ladies European Tour event.
She added further birdies on holes one and three before bouncing back from a bogey on the fourth hole with a birdie on the fifth.
Parker, who made a strong start with an opening-round 66, slipped to equal 13th at four under on the back of an underwhelming 74.
England's Felicity Johnson (67) was second at nine under, followed by American Cindy Lacrosse (69), Germany's Caroline Masson (68), as well as Frenchwomen Joanna Klatten (65) and Gwladys Nocera (68), in a tie for third at eight under.
The defending champion, America's Lexi Thompson (68), was fourth at seven under, while Spaniard Carlota Ciganda (68) and Canadian Lorie Kane (70) were a further shot adrift in a tie for eighth.
Australian Bree Arthur (70) led a group of three in equal 10th at five under.
Sarah Kemp (72) was the next best Aussie in a tie for 20th at three under, while Kristie Smith (72) and Stacey Keating (70) were a further shot back in equal 28th.