Wu enjoys home comforts to lead in China

Wu leads by two strokes. (AFP pic)

SHENZHEN: Wu Ashun credited home comforts and “great food” for his scintillating form as he stormed to a second round seven-under 65 to lead by two strokes at the 25th Volvo China Open in Shenzhen on Friday.

Wu carded a season’s best 66 in Thursday’s opening round and went one better with the low round of the day on Friday on his way to a 13-under par total.

He rammed home eight birdies and dropped just one shot to the delight of a large gallery of fans following his every move around the Genzon Golf Club layout.

Wu had registered just one top 40 finish in his eight previous 2019 European Tour starts.

“I enjoy playing at home,” said a smiling Wu, who is the most successful Chinese golfer in European Tour history with three wins.

“It’s a great week every time, I have great Chinese food, and a lot of family and friends with me. It’s a very good feeling. Always happy.”

For the second day running his card had its only bogey at the par-four fifth. “I hit a bad tee shot on five and I got a headache again,” he shrugged as he chases a second China Open title to add to his 2015 triumph.

Finland’s overnight co-leader Tapio Pulkkanen took at run at Wu’s lead late in the day but dropped a shot in near darkness on his final hole, the ninth, to stand second on 11 under par after a 68 to add to his opening 65.

‘I have no words’

Jorge Campillo, who is in red-hot form after a first tour win in Morocco on Sunday, had started the day tied with Pulkkanen and David Lipsky on seven-under but slipped back to third, three behind Wu, after a 69.

“It was a tough morning, in the first few holes it was wet and the ball wasn’t going very far so I hung in there,” said the frustrated Spaniard, who carded four birdies, and a bogey at the 13th.

“It was a good round, solid after yesterday’s 65. It’s tough to come back and shoot that same score. I did try and I just missed one more birdie on the ninth which hurt me a little bit.”

This year’s event has 45 Chinese players in the field, and one of the youngest made it into the weekend as one of a record 11 home players making the cut – and grabbed a little slice of history.

The 14-year-old amateur Kuang Yang carded a second one-under par 71 to squeeze into the weekend and become the second youngest player to make the cut at a European Tour event at 14 years and six months.

“I’m too happy I have no words to describe it,” beamed Kuang who is less than a month older than compatriot Guan Tianlang when he made the cut at the US Masters in 2013.

China’s No 1, Li Haotong, had a rollercoaster day.

At one stage he dropped an astonishing six shots in two holes as a double-bogey six on 14 was followed by an ugly quadruple-bogey eight at the 15th.

Having started his round on the 10th, the world number 39 then reeled off five birdies in a row from the 16th to repair most of the damage on his way to a 73 and a four-over par total.