RECENT Hongkong arrival Sarah Palmer staked her claim for China Open women's amateur glory with a second-round 69 at Zhongshan Hot Spring Golf Club yesterday. Displaying the form which won her international honours for England, 26-year-old Palmer fired five birdies over the Arnold Palmer-designed layout. Her 36-hole aggregate of 143 is four shots off the pace being set by defending champion Wong Lixia of China and one behind Malaysian Irene Yeoh. ''I'm still getting used to the conditions but I'm enjoying the course,'' said Palmer. Palmer came to Hongkong in January and gave an indication of her capabilities when finishing joint sixth in last week's Hongkong Open amateur championship at Fanling. Yesterday's sub-par performance was particularly creditable considering she began her round with back-to-back bogeys. Nevertheless, it is Wong, bidding for her third successive China Open title, who remains the favourite despite a poor start for the second day in a row. Having started the day three shots clear of compatriot Wong Laiyu and Yeoh, Wong gave hope to the chasing pack with double-bogey sixes at both the first and third holes before going on to finish her round with an even-par 71. Apart from Palmer, the only other player to break par yesterday was China's Lam Shiyu. The 1988 champion returned a 70 and is in fourth place on 144, followed by Hongkong's Joann Hardwick who carded her second successive 73.