Bennett in hunt at Amateur Asia-Pacific

Australia's Kelsey Bennett has a familiar rival to catch after defending champion Mizuki Hashimoto stormed to the halfway lead in the Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship.

Bennett finished tied as runner-up, one shot behind Hashimoto when the Japanese star triumphed at 20-under in Abu Dhabi a year ago.

And the Australian is chasing her once again after Hashimoto shot a superb six-under 66 second round at the Siam CC in Thailand on Friday to reach nine under and lead by a shot from South Korea's Jiyoo Lim (68).

Bennett went into the round tied second and slipped to tied fourth at five under after a 72.

All six Australians made the halfway cut with Justice Bosio (73) and Sarah Hammett (72) at one under, Maddison Hinson-Tolchard (73) one over, Kirsten Rudgeley (72) three over and Caitlin Peirce (74) four over.

The winner gets invitations to next year's Women's British Open and Evian Masters as well as the Augusta National Women's Amateur.