Liang Wenchong of China fired a 4-under 67 to grab a one-shot lead over Aaron Townsend of Australia after the second round of the China Masters on Friday.
Liang, who shared the opening-round lead with two others, carded two birdies in his first three holes and six overall on the day. He has a two-round total of 7-under 135.
Townsend, meanwhile, is coming off his best finish on the OneAsia Tour this year, a sixth at the High1 Resort Open. He had two birdies in his first five holes and seven altogether to go with two bogeys for a 67.
Four players led by YE Yang of South Korea were joint third and four shots off the lead.
Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen shot a 1-over 72 and was tied for 17th.
The top ranked golfer in China, Liang credited his success this week to switching drivers and improving his fitness. He also has hired a management team that he said has allowed him to concentrate on his game.
”I reached my low point last year, but things are coming back,” Liang said. ”I’m 34 years old already, and I now have a good management team to service my needs. Now all I need to do is to try my best to live and practice like a player, that’s all, and wait for the wins to come.”
Townsend said his score reflected a course that suited his style.
”It’s what I have been looking for all year, a good strong golf course that plays a bit long,” he said. ”It looks like I’ll have some good partners to play with tomorrow, so I’ll go out there and hopefully do the same thing again.”
The 2009 U.S. PGA Championship winner, Yang has struggled for much of the year, failing to crack the top 10 on the U.S. tour. But a 3-under 68 on Friday puts him in contention going into the weekend. He finished with five birdies and two bogeys.
”Four strokes behind on this course is a big lead, so with that gap I will have to play more aggressively tomorrow,” Yang said.