Sat, May 04, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Wu enjoys home comforts to lead Volvo China Open


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

Wu carded a season-best 66 in Thursday’s opening round and yesterday went one better with the low round of the day 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 Genzon Golf Club.

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

“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 in a row, Wu carded his only bogey at the par-four fifth hole.

“I hit a bad tee shot on five and I got a headache again,” he said as he chases a second Volvo China Open title to add to his 2015 triumph.

Finnish overnight coleader 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 68 to add to his opening 65.

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, as well as 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,” he added.

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.

Amateur Kuang Yang, 14, 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,” said Kuang, who is less than a month older than compatriot Guan Tianlang when he made the cut at the US Masters in 2013.

Chinese No. 1 Li Haotong had a roller-coaster 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 10th, the world No. 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.

Taiwan’s Lee Chien-po (146), Chan Shih-chang (148) and Lien Lu-sen (157) missed the two-under 142 cut.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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