'We told our players that you have to manipulate the course,' said French coach Anne Leconiat. 'You can't be aggressive.'
Gregory Bourdy led France with a 3-under 69 while teammate Eric Chaudouet posted a 3-over 75. Bourdy tied for low individual round of the day along with Mao-Chang Sung of Chinese Taipei, Tim Wilkinson of New Zealand and Austria's Thomas Ortner.
The U.S. had a five-shot advantage after the first day, but relinquished the lead on the Bunga Raya Course. Hunter Mahan did his part with an even-par 72, but Ricky Barnes managed only a 5-over 77.
'It was a tough day,' said U.S. captain O. Gordon Brewer, Jr. 'Hunter, fortunately, kept us in it. He's been very steady.'
'Our game plan is that we got away with a terrible day,' said Barnes. 'It's not like we're in 20th place and we have 10 shots to make up.'
Argentina was three shots off the lead followed by Austria and England at 2-over-par 290.
The field will be split in two for the weekend with the top half playing the Bunga Raya Course on Saturday and the Palm Course on Sunday. The bottom half will reverse that order of play.
The World Amateur Team Championships is conducted by the World Amateur Golf Council. The Championships are a biennial international competition.