HONGKONG fell 13 strokes behind leaders Sweden - and five off clinching one of the eight qualifying places for the Dunhill World Cup finals - after struggling on the second day of the World Qualifier in Taipei yesterday. And it could have been a lot worse but for Yau Sui-ming's cooly-hit monster putt for a birdie on the 17th which kept them in sight of the top eight and a lucrative October date at Royal St Andrews in Scotland for the finals. Hongkong dropped from eighth to joint 15th place on 294 - six-over-par - at the halfway stage. Sweden, inspired by Joakim Haeggman's 68, lead the way on 281, followed by South Africa on 283. Only eight shots separate the next 16 countries, though, and Yau says: ''We're still in there fighting.'' Yau's 40-footer from the edge of the 17th green gave him a round of two-over-par 74 at the Sunrise Golf and Country Club on the second day of the $1.8 million, 24-nation World qualifying tournament. With Richard Kan also returning a 74, Hongkong had a second-round aggregate of 148. With only the best two of the three-player team's scores counting, Dominique Boulet's 76 was discarded. It was also Boulet's score which had been discarded on the first day. Hongkong's score was only two shots worse than their opening day score, but with many of their rivals making big second-day improvements, their hopes of returning to St Andrews for the first time since 1985 have been dealt a significant blow. Yau said: ''It's going to be extremely tight, but we're certainly not out of contention. ''We need to make up at least a couple of shots in the third round, and to do that at least one of us will have to shoot under-par.'' Yesterday, Boulet looked capable of going under-par when an eagle-three at the long 13th left him even-par for the round. But his fragile confidence waned with a bogey at the next after driving into a fairway bunker and fell further with a double-bogey six at the 17th. He dropped another shot at the last. The rounds of Yau and Kan were more solid if less adventurous. Clearwater Bay assistant professional Kan, returning to the team after a one-year absence, was the steadiest of the Hongkong players making 15 pars, one birdie, one bogey and a double-bogey at the short fourth. Yau toured the front nine in level-par 36 but the rains came as he turned for home and he dropped one shot at the 10th, two at the 12th and one at the 16th before making that long birdie putt at the 17th.