Matt Wallace earns one-shot lead at Volvo China Open halfway point
Last Updated: 28/04/18 12:27pm
Matt Wallace improved his chances of a third European Tour title as he moved into a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Volvo China Open.
The Englishman followed a first round seven-under 65 with a battling two-under 70, which included a second consecutive eagle at the par-five eighth and a closing birdie, at Topwin Golf and Country Club.
Wallace, who won the Hero Indian Open earlier this season, holds a slender advantage over nearest rivals Nacho Elvira of Spain, Australia's Jason Scrivener and American Sihwan Kim, with overnight leader Daxing Jin, world No 1,426, tumbling down the leaderboard after a four-over 76.
"It was tough all day, the wind picked up in the afternoon," Wallace said. "I was two under after eight holes and was just thinking we can get a couple more birdies on the back nine. But the wind just picked up and I could not get it close enough.
"There were a lot of guys on eight under this morning and I tried to push on and widen the gap but the weather didn't really allow me to score. Hopefully the weather will be kind.
"I am playing nice golf so to be ahead with the tough conditions today is a nice feeling and I am going to bring that over to the weekend."
Beginning his second round one-shot adrift of the early pace in Beijing Wallace quickly made again at the par-three second but gave away his early momentum with a bogey at the par-five fourth for the second day running only to hole an eagle effort to go under-par for his front nine.
Wallace carded seven successive pars on his inward nine before he compensated a blemish at the 17th with a closing birdie, which proved enough to secure the outright lead, despite strong second round charges from Elvira and in particular Kim, who posted a bogey-free six-under 66.
Round of the day in Beijing
Australia's Jason Norris carded the round of the day with a blemish free eight-under 64 to move within three shots of Wallace's lead.
Kim, playing in a two-ball, made a patient start to his second round before back-to-back gains from the fifth and he enjoyed continued success on the greens with three birdies from the turn before a sixth at the 15th saw him surge into contention.
Elvira was another player to contend well as the Spaniard mixed seven birdies with two dropped shots while Scrivener made a double bogey at the ninth - his closing hole - after he had earlier posted five birdies, two bogeys along with a pitch-in eagle.
Wallace's countryman Jordan Smith and Scotland's Scott Jamieson sit in a six-man group on six-under, three shots off the lead while British Masters winner Paul Dunne is a shot further back.
Defending champion Alexander Levy, who won the Trophee Hassan II last week, made the weekend despite a one-over 73 which saw the Frenchman fall to two-under for the tournament, with Bernd Wiesberger, Nicolas Colsaerts and Thongchai Jaidee all missing the cut.
Watch the Volvo China Open throughout the week on Sky Sports Golf. Coverage continues on Saturday from 5.30am on Sky Sports Golf.