Local ace makes first cut since 2001 as eight of his colleagues fall by wayside Local fans owe a debt to James Stewart. Without him there would be no Hong Kong player left at the business end this weekend. Eight of the nine local players failed to make the halfway cut. Stewart is the lone survivor - and his presence will be encouraging for a golf scene shouting out for a hero. 'It is important for Hong Kong golf to have some representation in the closing stages,' conceded Stewart after he shot a three-over 73 yesterday. Together with his first round of 67, it was just enough to make the final fray. 'I'm proud to be carrying the flag for Hong Kong. There are some good players out there, but I will try to do my best and hopefully be able to turn in my best finish here. My goal was to play this weekend and try to improve on my best-ever finish here.' Stewart is playing for the sixth straight year. He has only made the cut once, in 2001 when he stunned everyone with a superb opening round of 65 to take his place on the leaderboard. He finished tied 58th. Since those heady days, he has struggled, despite playing on home turf - a course he plays almost every week when he is in town. But despite this familiarity, the 31-year-old professional couldn't cope with the swirling wind yesterday morning as he turned in six bogeys and three birdies in his 73. 'I missed a number of greens which left me in tricky positions. While the conditions were slightly different to the first day, I didn't play as well as yesterday,' admitted Stewart. 'However, I'm happy to make it through and my aim now is to try to produce my best finish.' His partner at the World Cup qualifiers in Malaysia in September, David Freeman, was the next best performer. Freeman failed to quite match his opening round of 71, turning in a 73 to drop out of contention with a four-over total of 144. Leading amateur Jimmy Ko Ming-chak, 18, failed to improve on his opening round of 77 and could only manage a 78. He expected to miss the cut, but will be pleased with his performance which was praised by the Hong Kong Golf Association's director of junior development. 'He will have learned a lot by this experience,' said Brad Schadewitz. 'Getting the chance to play with the professionals and getting help from Mr Lu [event ambassador Lu Liang-huan of Taiwan] will have been inspirational for him.' Ko said his ambition had been no higher than carding a 75. Unfortunately, he couldn't quite realise it. Also missing out on the weekend action were Jovick Lee (73, 77), Derek Fung (74, 75), Lee Man-lok (77, 76), Chris Tang (79, 76), and Douglas Williams (78 ,77).