Finland's Mikko Ilonen, seeking a first victory since 2007, fired a record-equalling nine-under-par 63 yesterday to claim a three-shot lead after the second round of the Volvo China Open at Tianjin Binhai Lake Golf Club.
Ilonen is on 12-under 132 at the 20 million yuan (HK$25 million) tournament, with a pair of more recent winners lurking in the form of Australian Brett Rumford and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who both shot 67s for a share of joint third on 135.
Twelve-year-old local wonder boy Ye Wocheng, the youngest player yet to take part in a European Tour event, missed the cut after two rounds of 79.
"Golf is a hard game to play at this level of competition and on these courses, but I feel I will soon be ready for it," he said. "I'm looking forward to the next time I can play out here."
His 16-year-old compatriot Dou Zecheng made the cut after shooting level par yesterday to go with his opening round 70. He was the highest-placed Chinese player, Huang Wenyi and Liang Wenchong the only other two who survived.
"I feel great to have achieved that," he said. "Now I will enjoy my game through the weekend."
Ilonen had a blemish-free round that included three birdies on his opening nine and six on the way home.
"I hit the ball better than yesterday. Obviously, 69 yesterday was a good score and it was a bit breezier, but I gave myself more chances today - hit more greens and hit more fairways. It was a very stress-free round today," he said.