Quartet share Hong Kong lead
Gregory Bourdy, Liang Wen-Chong, Charl Schwartzel and Robert-Jan Derksen share the halfway lead at the Hong Kong Open.
Gregory Bourdy, Liang Wen-Chong, Charl Schwartzel and Robert-Jan Derksen share a slender one-stroke lead at the midway point of the UBS Hong Kong Open.
Frenchman Bourdy, the 2008 Estoril Open de Portugal winner, dropped his third shot of the day at the last to let slip a potential outright lead and was forced to settle for a three-under-par second round of 67.
Derksen (68) had led at 11 under but finished with back-to-back bogeys, while China’s Liang boosted his slender hopes of winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit with a bogey-free five-under-par 65.
South Africa’s Schwartzel (66) joined the trio at nine under overall.
Singapore Open runner-up Liang also currently occupies the 60th and final qualifying spot for the season-ending Dubai World Championship, while Bourdy and Derksen must finish at least second in Hong Kong to stand a chance of heading to the Middle East for the lucrative showpiece.
“It was a good day. I was consistent but made a double bogey on the eighth and bogey on the 18th which was a shame with three putts,” said Bourdy.
“But my game was good and I am confident for the weekend. There are plenty of positives to take into the last two rounds and if I keep playing like this I will be OK on Sunday.”
Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil carded a second consecutive four-under-par 66 to join South Africa’s Rory Sabbatini (67) at eight under, with PGA Championship winner YE Yang (67), defending champion Lin Wen-Tang and David Dixon (both 69) in a group a further shot off the pace.
Dixon currently holds his card for next season but need a solid performance this week to be certain, with the JBWere Masters also taking place in Australia.
Rory McIlroy edged ahead in the battle for European supremacy after a two-under-par 68 pushed the 20-year-old to six under overall alongside Singapore Open champion Ian Poulter, who shot a bogey-free 66, and two clear of Race to Dubai leader Lee Westwood.
Westwood was again baffled by the Fanling greens and was forced to settle for a level-par 70 after managing just a solitary birdie.
But last year’s runner-up McIlroy did not have it all his own way, with several missed putts to his name including agonising close calls at 16 and 17.
“I played really well, the putts just stopped dropping on the back nine. I think it is to do with the time of the day as the grain affects the ball a lot. As the sun starts to go down the grass grows and affects it,” he said.
“I can get myself right in it if I shoot a good front nine tomorrow – I can put pressure on the leaders with a fast start.”
First-round leader Udorn Duangdecha tumbled down the leaderboard as the Thai followed his storming 62 with a four-over-par 74.
Meanwhile, 15-year-old Hong Kong amateur Jason Hak made the cut for a second successive year after carding a second-round three-under-par 67.
Last year, playing in his first European Tour event, US-based Hak became the youngest player to make the cut in European Tour history – beating Sergio Garcia’s record, which had stood for 13 years.
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