American Jason Dufner made the cut by the skin of his teeth at the Volvo China Open on Friday as unheralded Frenchman Alexander Levy blew the tournament apart.
Dufner (73-71) scraped through on the cut line at par after two rounds of the 20 million yuan event.
“I’m just not playing well enough . . . . 73, 71 just doesn’t get it done unless you are playing the US Open,” said Dufner, one of the marquee names brought to the Genzon Golf Club for the 20th anniversary of the national open.
Ian Poulter also flirted with distaster after taking an incorrect drop on the 13th hole and had to sign for a triple-bogey eight. He finished at one-over after being six under at one stage.
“A schoolboy error,” the Englishman said when asked about his blunder. “I have just made a mistake. We make them and I guess that was a fun one.
“I took two club lengths as opposed to one and it’s a two-shot penalty which turned a bad six into a really bad eight, so not the best of holes.
“I guess I need to get the rules book back out and start chewing it.”
Levy, meanwhile, tore the course apart with eight birdies and an eagle in a 10-under 62, to open up a four-shot lead over Spaniard Adrian Otaegui. Fellow Spaniard Alvaro Quiros was a shot further back.
“I played unbelievably today and the first time I have played like that. It was a great round,” said Levy, who is ranked 282 in the world. His best finish on the European Tour is third in the BMW International Open in Munich last June.
Chinese teen sensation Guan Tianlang missed the cut after finishing at three-over 176.
“I’m a little disappointed. I feel I did a good job, my swing is just not there,” said the 15-year-old.
“I think my mind is good. Maybe my technique is not quite right. I’m still changing my swing and I’ll go back to work on it.”
Guan will play in Guangzhou next week in the second leg of the new PGA Tour of China, which has 10 US$200,000 events around the country.
World number three Henrik Stenson will have to produce something magical to make up 11 shots on Levy after a two-under par 70 left him at three under.
The Swede is still struggling to recover from a stomach bug.
“I actually felt a little better last night, but then kind of took a step back this morning. I’m just feeling very weak and tired so it was quite tough out there.
“I made six birdies and missed a few good opportunities to make more. But then I threw a silly double in there and a few bogeys as well so I need to cut that out, although it is tough and tiring when you feel the way I have been feeling this week.”