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Friday, 19 March 2010
Seven players - Henrik Bjornstad, Stephen Dodd, Klas Eriksson, Tony Johnstone, Marten Olander, Jyoti Randhawa and Wang Ter-Chang - moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the Omega Hong Kong Open at Hong Kong Golf Club.

The group all finished on nine under par 129, one shot clear of American Clay Devers and Frenchman Thomas Levet, with the European Tour interest maintained by Søren Hansen and Maarten Lafeber who finished amongst a group of players sharing tenth spot on seven under par 131.

Sharing the honour of the best round amongst the leaders, namely a 62, were Bjornstad, still looking for his maiden European Tour victory, and Randhawa, who continued the form which saw him move to the top of the Davidoff Tour Order of Merit after finishing second to Padraig Harrington in last week’s BMW Asian Open in Taiwan.

"My wife Tina caddied for me today as my regular caddie had to go for a visa so he can carry the bag next week,” said the Indian golfer who played the back nine in 30. “She obviously brought me luck and I think I will ask her to caddie for me at the weekend."

It was not all younger golfers who dominated the leaderboard however, experienced Zimbabwean campaigner Tony Johnstone carding a 65 to give him an excellent chance of his first European Tour title since he won the Qatar Masters in 2001.

"It's a long time since I have seen my name on the top of the leaderboard and it's a nice feeling,” said the 46 year old.

“At any stage in my career if you'd have said to me I wasn't going to have this feeling again I would have got rid of the clubs and stopped playing. You look for the smell of battle really and I can smell battle at the moment and that is what I was born for."

Six-time Major winner Nick Faldo kept in contention by firing a 65 to lie four off the lead on 133.

"I plan to play really aggressive going into the weekend. Just go for everything that is the goal and see what I can do. That is plan A," said Faldo, who tasted victory the last time he played in Hong Kong in the 1990 Johnnie Walker Classic.

One shot behind the Englishman, defending champion José Maria Olazábal of Spain also carded a 65 to move to four under par at the halfway stage.

"I am still a little far behind. Five shots is quite a lot, not because five shots is a lot but because there are a lot of people on nine under,” said the Spaniard.

“It will be difficult for everybody not to do well. Obviously I will have to play my best at the weekend in order to have a chance but I was really happy with the way I hit the ball today,"

Although the leaders played some sparkling golf between them, the shot of the day came from Ireland's Peter Lawrie who recorded the first hole in one of The 2003 European Tour International Schedule.

Lawrie, who gained his card through finishing fourth on the 2002 Challenge Tour Rankings holed his five iron at the 191 yard eighth hole. Unfortunately, there was no prize for his effort, the Mercedes Benz CLK 320 being on offer for the first player to ace the 15th hole.

"The hole in one certainly got the round going," said the 28-year-old. "Nobody but my playing partners and the caddies saw it but that does not matter." Lawrie eventually finished with a 65 to move into a tie for 21st on five under par 133.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1JOHNSTONE, TonyZIM18-12
2JACOBSON, FredrikSWE18-16
T3NYSTRÖM, HenrikSWE18-14
T3BERENDT, JorgeARG18-14
T5ORR, GarySCO18-13
T5KJELDSEN, SørenDEN18-13
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