Zhang leads delayed Earls Beijing Open
June 13, 2014
- Xin Jun Zhang, who has two runners-up this season, leads the Earls Beijing Open after shooting consecutive 66s.
BEIJING, China -- A day after making six birdies on his way to a 6-under 66, China’s Xin Jun Zhang duplicated that score in the second round of the Earls Beijing Open. Zhang had finished his round when a strong thunderstorm hit Earls Beijing Golf Club, suspending play late in the afternoon.
Zhang, at 12 under, leads Brazil’s Lucas Lee by two shots among the players who finished their rounds. Lincoln Tighe and Yuan Tian also got their rounds in before the rain hit, and they are five shots behind. First-round co-leader Seongki Lee had completed 13 holes when officials halted play.
He is at 10-under, while Mathew Perry and Brad McIntosh are at 8-under, Perry through 17 holes and McIntosh on the 13th fairway.
In all, 60 players were unable to finish their second rounds. Play resumes Saturday morning at 7:30, weather permitting, with officials then making the cut and regrouping the players for the third round.
Zhang, with two runner-up finishes this season -- at the Mission Hills Haikou Open and the United Investment Real Estate Wuhan Open, where he lost in a playoff -- is looking to break through with a victory a week after he signed an incorrect scorecard and was disqualified from the Lanhai Open.
Zhang has yet to win since turning pro in 2010 but his performance through the first 36 holes suggests he may change that. A day after playing bogey-free, Zhang made only one bogey Friday.
“I played very well today. I got into trouble on No. 8. I hit an errant tee shot into the right trees,” he said of his lone bogey on what was his 17th hole of the morning. “I think in the next two rounds, the tee shot is still the most important part because it sets you up with an opportunity to score.”
Zhang scored early and often Friday, making birdies on his first two holes. He picked up three more before finishing his first nine, making the turn in 5-under 31.
“I played my front nine very well today. The back nine, I did not make as many putts as I wanted to,” he added.
Lucas Lee, who was born in Sao Paulo, played collegiately at UCLA and still makes California his home. He had a disappointing finish to his first round, making bogey on his final two holes of the day (at Nos. 8 and 9). There would be no duplication of that performance in the second round as he made it to the halfway point of the tournament with a flourish, birdieing the 17th and 18th holes. His 65 ties Seongki Lee (norelation) and Perry, who opened the tournament with 65s.
Lee is something of an accidental PGA TOUR China Series player. He was already in Asia, playing on the OneAsia Tour. When he learned his PGA TOUR Canada status would allow him to play PGA TOUR China Series’ events, he entered the first two tournaments, finishing fourth at the Buick Open.
“Once I learned I could play because of my Canadian exemption, I decided to play. Then I finished fourth in Guangzhou and decided to keep going here.”