France’s unheralded Alexander Levy fired an incredible 10-under-par 62 at the Volvo China Open yesterday, but Guan Tianlang missed the cut and PGA champion Jason Dufner only scraped through.
Levy’s flawless round, which included eight birdies and an eagle, was the best of his short career and set a new course record at the par-72 Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen.
The 23-year-old, playing in just his second year on the European Tour, leads by four shots over Spain’s Adrian Otaegui going into today’s third round of the US$3.2 million event.
Levy attributed the recent success of compatriot Victor Dubuisson as the inspiration for his scintillating 18 holes, which bettered by one his previous lowest score.
“Victor’s performances over the past few months are helping all the French players and inspiring them to try to do the same,” he said of November’s Turkish Airlines Open winner.
Dubuisson, 24, started last year at 134th in the world rankings, but is now 23rd after following up his win in Turkey with three top-10 finishes, including runner-up at the World Match Play Championship.
“What he has done over the past few months has been amazing and it has really had an effect on all the French player, so hopefully I can try to emulate that,” said Levy, ranked a lowly 282.
Levy started his play yesterday morning by completing the final hole of his first round, which had been suspended because of fading light the previous day, securing a par for a four-under 68.
An eagle and four birdies on the front nine of round two put him out in just 30 shots. A further four birdies got him to 14 under par at the halfway stage of the co-sanctioned European Tour-OneAsia event.
“I played unbelievably today... the first time I have played like that,” said Levy, whose previous best European Tour finish came at last year’s BMW International Open when he finished third.
“I shot 63 at Kingsbarns during the Dunhill Links in Scotland last year, but this course is a lot tougher and I am only starting to realize how good the score is,” he said.
Otaegui shot 66 to sit alone in second place, one shot clear of Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, with France’s Raphael Jacquelin in fourth on eight-under-par.
World No. 3 Henrik Stenson, who was still suffering the effects of flu, is three-under after a round of 70, while England’s Ian Poulter slipped to minus-one after a round of 74.
Poulter was given a two-shot penalty for an incorrect drop on the 13th and later described his mistake as a “schoolboy error.”
“I guess I need to get the rules book back out and start chewing it,” Poulter said.
The US’ Dufner made the halfway cut by the skin of his teeth and sits at level par, requiring some sort of miracle if he is to threaten the leaderboard come tomorrow.
“I’m not where I want to be after two rounds,” the major winner said.
“Hopefully I can turn it round and maybe score a bit better. It’s a pretty good test of golf. The greens are receptive, so that’s maybe why some are scoring well,” Dufner added.
Chinese teenager Guan struggled to a four-over 76, leaving him at plus-three to miss the weekend by three shots.
Taiwan’s Mou Chung-ho missed the cut after carding a second straight 75.