SAI KUNG, Hong Kong — China’s No. 1 amateur Jin Cheng saw his overnight lead reduced to a two-shot margin after round two at the seventh Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, Hong Kong. After his record-breaking round of 62 yesterday, Jin held steady in blustery conditions, finishing with a 2-under-par 68 and remains at the top of the leader board at the halfway stage of the championship.
Jin collected a pair of birdies on the front and back nine, but bogeys on the par-3 6th and par-4 17th knocked the 17-year-old from Beijing back, in what was a solid, uneventful round.
Said Jin: “My putting wasn’t good today and I made some unnecessary errors, but I’m just trying to focus on my own game, stay calm and to finish up. I played with Ryan Ruffels for the past two days in the same group and obviously he’s a great player. I enjoy playing with him and had a lot of fun on course.”
Looking ahead to the weekend, he added: “I hope that by leading the championship I’ll have some confidence for the next two days and am trying not to stress myself too much.”
Japan’s Takashi Ogiso made his intentions known, carding an impressive 5-under-par round of 65, adding to his first-round score of 67 to leave him two shots off the lead, in second place at 8-under-par for the championship.
The 18-year-old from Nagoya said: “I made a lot of birdies on the course, and I am happy to make a good score today.” Asked what the plan was for Saturday, he replied: “No pressure for tomorrow, I will try to make more birdies tomorrow. I like the course and I’m having a lot of fun.”
Jin’s teammate She Zihan, the 2013 China Amateur Open champion, has put himself in contention going into the weekend with two steady rounds that show maturity beyond his years. Turning 19 only this week, the Shanghai-based golfer did not let two consecutive bogeys on his first two holes, the 9th and 10th, put him off his stride, as he recovered magnificently to finish in third place alongside Australian duo Cameron Davis and pre-tournament favourite Ruffels, at 7-under-par.
Guan Tianlang, the 2012 champion, also of China, had a difficult start after recording a bogey or worse on his first six holes but showed his skill and patience by producing five birdies in nine holes to complete a remarkable recovery.
The 16-year-old who teed-off on the 10th today, was pleased with his comeback: “I thought I didn’t play that badly the first few holes. But things were still pretty hard after 15, where I triple-bogeyed, so I just played safe and made a couple of pars. After I birdied on the 18th, I played more aggressively on the front nine because by then the weather was better, which made the course a little easier.”
Matthew Cheung flew the flag for Hong Kong today, overcoming his first-round disappointment to produce a fine effort of 6-under-par 64 that included five birdies and an eagle. The Oklahoma City University student credits moving away from home to attend college as the primary reason for his mature approach to the game.
“Moving away from home recently, going to university in the states has really made me mature a lot quicker,” he said. “I don’t have any family over there so have to learn to do everything myself, so I feel like that’s really taught me a lot and it’s certainly helping.”
Defending champion Antonio Murdaca continues to find the conditions testing, carding an even-par 70 for the day with a round that included five birdies, three bogeys and a double on the par-5 15th. The player from Adelaide finished the second round at 1-under-par for the championship.
Sixty-two players made the cut at 3-over-par – representing the top 60 and ties – as the championship heads into the weekend for the final 36 holes.
Continuing under its banner of ‘Creating Future Heroes’, the AAC will feature 120 players from the APGC’s member associations and will be played over 72-holes of stroke play, with a cut for the leading 60 players plus ties after 36 holes.