Sponsors Volvo have been rewarded for their generosity to the European Tour and their loyalty to the Beijing Open at the CBD Club by a tournament that has won praise from players, officials and fans alike. A tight leaderboard promises that the weekend will be a thriller.
Of particular pleasure to the sponsors, whose support has been a huge encouragement to the game in China, will be the fact that three Chinese players are still in serious contention, featuring among only 22 who have managed to better par over the first two days from a starting field of 156.
In total five Chinese will contest the weekend; singled out for special praise should be amateur Hu Mu, who made a +4 cut that proved too testing for a number of well-known names, among them former Ryder Cup players Andrew Coltart and Jarmo Sandelin.
Li Chao, who started the day as the leading Chinese in second place at +4, found the going tougher on the second day, but he battled hard for a good score of 74 to leave him at +2, only six strokes off the lead. He was overtaken by Li Ang Wen Chong, whose score of 68 on the day was bettered only by England’s Oliver Wilson. Wen Chong finds himself tied for 9th on –3.
The other Chinese player under par is Wu Kang-Chun, who dropped a stroke to par but finished tied for 18th at –1, while the final member of the quintet is Wu Wei-Huang on +4 alongside Hu Mu.
Li Ang put his excellent score down to a good start, with two birdies in his first three holes, and quality putting. He was also encouraged by the strong performances of his fellow-countrymen.
“We just have to look at yesterday’s performances from Chinese players like Li Chao and Kang-Chun,” he said. “It is really good to see these young players doing well. It bodes well for the future of golf in China.”
At the top of the leaderboard England’s Richard Finch set an early marker with a three-under round to post a clubhouse score of –7. Richard was the only player from the afternoon starts on the first day to post a really competitive score, allowing him to start day 2 at –4 with the chance to take advantage of the best of the conditions.
The modest Yorkshireman acknowledged a feeling of slight disappointment at not being able to match or better his first day’s score, recognising that he had not played quite as well. But he can be more than happy with two scores that kept him in the lead until the second-last group of the day had completed their round, with Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera securing a one stroke lead going into the weekend.