Australia's Brett Rumford remains in contention for back-to-back victories on the European Tour despite a late surge from Finland's Mikko Ilonen in the second round of the Volvo China Open.

Rumford birdied his final four holes at Binhai Lake Golf Club in Tianjin to card a 67 and set the clubhouse target of nine under par, which was then matched by Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

However, Ilonen then birdied three of the same four holes that Rumford had hours earlier, to complete a flawless 63 and claim a three-shot lead on 12 under par.

Damien McGrane on five under is the only Irish golfer to make the even par cut.

Michael Hoey (+2), Gareth Maybin (+3), Peter Lawrie (+5) and Paul McGinley (+7) all have the weekend off. 

"Hopefully I can ride the wave over the weekend and keep the good feelings going" - Brett Rumford

Rumford won his first event since 2007 with an eagle on the first hole of a three-man play-off in the Ballantine's Championship in Korea on Sunday and the 35-year-old from Perth is keen to make the most of his return to top form.

"This is a new week and another tournament," said Rumford, who started on the back nine and went to the turn in 35 before coming home in 32 thanks to to those birdies on the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth.

"I feel good, my fitness is good and my energy levels feel nice and high, so hopefully I can ride the wave over the weekend and keep the good feelings going.

"It's a nice feeling when you're holing putts and seeing your name up near the top of the leaderboard. You've got to make the most of these moments when they come along, and I'm managing to do that at the minute."