On a blustery day at The Hong Kong Golf Club, it was determined there will not be a repeat winner. World number One, Rory McIlroy will not win this year at The UBS Hong Kong Open. The newly crowned Race To Dubai Champion four putted the final green and missed the cut. New tournament leader Michael Campbell joked, “That makes it a lot easier for the rest of the field!”
Michael Campbell shot a six under par 64 on Friday afternoon to take a one stroke lead over a group at eight under par that includes Miguel Angel Jimenez, Fredrik Andersson Hed, and Lian-Wei Zhang. Campbell had one bogey at the par 3 second hole to offset a run of birdies that started at the seventh hole and totaled seven on the day.
Since beating Tiger Woods in the 2005 US Open at Pinehurst, Campbell’s career had sunk to making only four cuts in a two year stretch that put him out of the top 1000 in the World Golf rankings. Still only 910th four months ago, the 43 year old is now up to 339th thanks largely to his third-place finish at the recent Portugal Masters.
A group of 40 somethings are sitting one stroke back at 8 under, and include a two time winner of this event, Miguel Angel Himenez. The 47 year old Spaniard fired a bogey free three under par 67 round to join 40 year old Fredrik Andersson Hed, from Sweden who had an up and down day with three bogeys. Andersson Hed shot a four under 67.
Lian-Wei Zhang from China continued his consistancy by firing another four under 66 for the a second day in a row.
First round leader, Spain’s Javier Colomo took a step backward on Friday shooting a one over par 71. He fell to five under par to join Daisuke Kataoka from Japan in a tie for sixth.
American Matt Kuchar had a very ho-hum day shooting a second one under par 69. Kuchar is playing very average golf, but can’t seem to make anything happen. He appears to have a case of set lag, and is in a log jam with nine other players tied for 20th. Maybe the Kuch can get on-track for the weekend.
Rory McIlroy has been so busy this week collecting awards and trophies for his phenomenal year, he hasn’t had much time to devote to defending his title in Hong Kong. He shot a two over par on Friday, and misses the cut at five over par. If I were a person to make a wager, I would put a few Quid on Rory being ready to go next week at Dubai.
The field in Hong Kong is loaded with players looking to punch their tickets to the season finale next week at the DP World Championships, Dubai and improving their chances of getting a tour card for the 2013 without having to attend the Q-School. Irishman Peter Lawrie is the man on the bubble. Lawrie carded a 68 on Friday appearing to make the field next week.
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