Master Zhang determined to hold on to lead

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 May, 2007, 12:00am

Two-time champion Zhang Lianwei narrowly beat the elements to take the clubhouse lead before lightning and swirling winds blowing in from the South China Sea forced the Macau Open to be suspend play with 33 players still to complete the second round yesterday.

Zhang had just completed his round, adding a three-under-par 68 to his opening score of 66, when organisers called off play as conditions deteriorated.

The second round will be completed this morning.

'I was lucky to finish before play was suspended. I'm happy to finish with 68 and it has put me in a good position,' said Zhang, who began the day joint-seventh and two shots off the pace. 'I will try to grab this chance and win my third Macau Open.'

One shot back is India's Gaurav Ghei, who shot 70 to go seven under. In joint-third on six under are another Indian, Gurbaaz Mann, Australian Jarrod Moseley, Stephen Scahill of New Zealand and Subramaniam Sivachandran of Malaysia, all of whom started early yesterday.

Among the leading crop of players caught in the cold yesterday was Australian Richard Moir, who was on nine under for the tournament after 14 holes, while American Anthony Kang was eight under through 17 holes.

After clear skies on the opening day and for most of yesterday, the conditions at the Macau Golf and Country Club quickly went bad, leaving players with an afternoon tee-off facing tough conditions. And with the back nine holes regarded as the toughest on this course, it was even more of a challenge.

Old master Zhang showed young gun and compatriot Liang Wenchong he still had a few tricks up his sleeve - the main one being how to stay calm and focused when things you cannot control go helter-skelter.

Liang was cruising along at seven under with three holes remaining before he fell victim to the wind. Two bogeys on the last two holes cost Zhang's protege the chance to be at the top of the leaderboard as he finished with 68 to go five under at the halfway mark.

'It was certainly not the way I wanted to finish,' said a clearly unhappy Liang.

'The wind cost me and I also let my concentration slip at the last hole. I screwed up.'

First-round leader Leigh McKechnie was another victim of the wind yesterday. The Australian, who began the day with a one-shot lead, saw his hopes unravel as he made four bogeys and a double bogey to finish with 74. It saw him slip to joint-11th, four strokes behind Zhang.

It was two days to forget for Hong Kong's quintet. Derek Fung (152 over two rounds) James Stewart (147), David Freeman (152), Lee Man-lok (153) and Wong Woon-man (160) are all certain of missing the cut.



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