Graeme McDowell remains the best placed of the four Northern Ireland players after the second round of the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.
McDowell repeated his opening score of 69 to lie on six under par overall which leaves him five shots behind leader Fredrik Jacobson of Sweden.
Rory McIlroy also had a 69, despite carding seven birdies, and is one shot behind McDowell on five under.
Michael Hoey finished on two over with Darren Clarke's five over.
Dunhill Links winner Hoey had a 70 on Friday and Open champion Clarke signed for a 76.
McIlroy improved only one position to joint 17th with a round that contained four bogeys.
"I was just always trying to play catch up," the 22-year-old US Open champion said.
"I will need to do something pretty good over the weekend if I want to try and win this tournament."
McDowell's showing is a welcome return to form after the worst weekend of his professional career at the Andalucia Masters last week.
Closing rounds of 81 and 82 left him 54th of the 54 men who made the cut.