‘Beware the injured golfer’ is a commonly used phrase within the game and England’s David Lynn gave credence to its authenticity once again in Beijing when he literally limped into the lead at the halfway stage of the Volvo China Open at the Honghua International Golf Club.
The 32 year old from Stoke-on-Trent carded a second round 67 for a nine under par total of 135 to lead the way by one shot from Marc Cayeux, José-Filipe Lima and Prayad Marksaeng, but the mere statistics do little to illustrate the drama behind the Englishman’s visit to Beijing thus far.
Before travelling out, the winner of The 2004 KLM Open suffered a mosquito bite in his groin which, by the time he reached the course and was ready to practise, had become large and painful. It got so bad that in Thursday’s opening round, he could not even bend down properly to line up his putts.
“After I played my first round I went to see the doctor and he turned round and said that he needed to cut it out,” said Lynn. “So he got his scalpel out and started to cut away! No anaesthetic or anything and I’m watching this whole thing take place! It was quite a big hole left but he patched it up and did a great job.”
Being bitten by strange creatures is not a new thing for Lynn, who suffered a scorpion sting during December’s dunhill championship in South Africa. He obviously suffered no adverse reaction then, as he went on to finish in a tie for fourth at Leopard Creek, and this latest attack has appeared to do him no harm either.
Although he dropped shots on the closing holes of both nines, as well as at the 15th where he three putted, he carded nine birdies elsewhere with putts ranging from two feet to 20 to become the man to beat going into the weekend.
“Tee to green I won’t say like I’m at my best but my putting has been nice,” he said. “If I can keep that going, then it will be good. You never know what is going to happen but I’d rather be leading a tournament than chasing. This is what I play for. I get a buzz leading a tournament and I’ll try and keep it going over the weekend.”
One shot behind Lynn were an international trio of Zimbabwe’s Cayeux, Portugal’s Lima and Marksaeng of Thailand. As well as providing an eclectic mix of nationalities, the trio also found different routes to the same eight under par total of 136.
Best round of the three came from Cayeux, who had eight birdies in total in his excellent 65, which more than made up for his solitary bogey of the round, which came at the par five 11th hole after his third shot found the greenside bunker.
The 28 year old produced hot golf apart from that to match the warmest temperatures of the week at the Beijing venue, a fact also well received by the Zimbabwean, for he forgot to check the weather forecast before travelling and arrived in the Chinese capital with no warm clothes, dismayed to find snow flurries and zero temperatures blighting the pre-tournament preparation.
“I played the practice round on Tuesday and was absolutely freezing,” he said. “Luckily I got the chance to go to the market yesterday and got some warm jerseys. I’ve got a very bad cold as well but I am very happy to be eight under.
“I played nicely yesterday but a lot better today, I just hit a lot more greens today, that was the main difference. But today the temperature was hot, I was hot, everything was hot today.”
Second best of the trio tied for second was Marksaeng, who carded a flawless second round 67 to take the honour of being the highest placed Asian Tour competitor in the co-sanctioned tournament between The European Tour and the Asian Tour, while the group was completed by Lima who added a four birdie 69 to his opening 67.
The Portugese golfer, who played under French nationality when he won the Aa St Omer Open in 2004, was encouraged by a special fan at the Beijing course, namely the local girl caddie who had carried his bag when he played in the 2005 Volvo China Open at Shanghai Silport Golf Club.
“Incredibly she travelled up from Shanghai to watch me play,” said Lima. “I was standing on the tee at 6.40am this morning and I looked up and I thought, ‘I know you,’ and she said that she had caddied for me in Shanghai and she had come up to support me here. That was a fantastic thing to do and we took some pictures with her and she walked the 18 holes with me.”
Three players, overnight leader Christian Cévaër of France, Scott Drummond of Scotland and Rahil Gangjee of India shared fifth on six under par 138 while a plethora of golfers shared eighth place on five under par 139 including the defending champion Paul Casey, who got himself back into contention with a second round 68.
“I am happier with that but I just counted my putts and it was 30 which is still not exactly spectacular,” he said. “But I am very happy with the round I composed after starting with a bogey at the second. I’m happy to shoot a 68 to be not that far off the lead and I’m in good shape for the weekend.”
|1||SINGH, Jeev Milkha||IND||18||-10|