ZHANG Lianwei yesterday took a leaf out of the book of playing partner Sam Torrance to launch his bid for Hong Kong Open glory in spectacular fashion. After outscoring Europe's number two by four strokes, China's number one said he owed a debt of gratitude to the burly Scot. 'Playing with him helped me a lot,' said Zhang, following his four-under-par 67 over the Composite Course at Fanling which put him in joint third place going into today's second round, just two strokes off the pace being set by Mexican Rafael Alarcon. In particular, 30-year-old Zhang was impressed by the way world ranked number 14 Torrance, second to Colin Montgomerie on this year's European Tour Order of Merit, conducted himself during the round when faced by adversity. Said Zhang: 'I felt nervous at the start, but playing with a guy like Torrance helped me. He is so relaxed when he's on the course. He doesn't let anything affect him. If he plays a bad shot he just puts it out of his mind and gets on with it. 'I want to become like that. I know that I need to learn to calm down when things don't go so well. You just have to get on with it.' There is no doubt, however, that Zhang is learning, and learning fast. Still in his rookie year as a professional, he has come a long way in the 10 months since his path last crossed directly with Torrance in the first two rounds of the Johnnie Walker Classic in the Philippines. On that occasion, Zhang began with a nerve-ridden five-over-par 77 while Torrance toured the Orchard Golf and Country Club layout in 71. Although Zhang survived the halfway cut, he finished down the field on 297 - seven strokes behind Torrance. Zhang and Torrance had also been in opposition last week in the World Cup at Mission Hills, although they were never actually paired together. There, Torrance had another inspiring week, taking third place individually and finishing 21 shots in front of Zhang. Away from the huge pressures he faced on home soil last week, Zhang's hopes for a sound start here went off track at the 439-yard first hole where he pushed his drive into the trees on the right from where he was only able to lay-up short of the green. He took three more to get down. But birdies at the 149-yard second, the shortest of the four par-threes, and the par-five third restored Zhang's self-belief. He picked up his third shot of the day at the seventh to draw level with Torrance for the first time at two under. When Torrance made bogey at the eighth, Zhang moved ahead and he extended his advantage over the Scot at the 12th, at 529 yards the longest of the three par-fives, where he produced one of the shots of the day - a mighty three-wood approach over the greenside bunker to within three feet of the cup. The eagle putt was a formality. Now into his stride, Zhang went to five-under for the round when he nailed a 25-footer for birdie. Sadly, however, Zhang finished his round as he had begun it - with a bogey. His two-iron tee shot caught the trap on the right from where he decided discretion was the better part of valour and laid up rather than attempting to go for the green over the lake into which Torrance's ball plunged. For Cheng Jun, Zhang's World Cup teammate, life is not getting any easier. Setting out at the 11th hole, Cheng began with a confidence-destroying double-bogey six - a repeat of his opening hole disaster at Mission Hills last week when in the company of American defending champions Fred Couples and Davis Love. Following a precise opening tee shot yesterday, Cheng leaked his iron approach to the right. From a poor lie he required two chips and then two putts. Another ignominious beginning. Despite a birdie at the 12th, his second of the day, further evidence of Cheng's current lack of confidence came when he stuttered with four successive bogeys from the 16th. He ended with a 76 and will have his work cut out now to survive the halfway axe for the leading 65 players and ties which will be made after today's second round.