Korean golfer Choi Ho-sung produced four birdies over the back nine to establish a two stroke lead after a second round 67 in the Volvo China Open.
Choi only started playing at the age of 26, and was 28 before he turned professional.
“I turned pro in 2001 when I was 28, so very late and I am very pleased to participate in this tournament. I feel this course suits me, I feel like it’s my course,” he said.
On an afternoon that saw several names at the top of the leaderboard including the English trio of Nick Dougherty, Simon Dyson and Richard Finch, it was some inspired putting which put Choi in front on six under.
Chapchai Nirat and 2007 winner Markus Brier share second on four under, while Irishman Paul McGinley fired a sparkling 67 to climb to three under alongside Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño in a tie for fourth.
Dyson and Finch finished two under after rounds of 73 and 71, respectively, while Dougherty struggled over the back nine, coming home in 43 to sign for a 79 and three over.
Brier held a one stroke advantage overnight on five under but a pair of bogey fives at the first two holes saw the Austrian slip down the leaderboard.
That allowed Dyson to join Nirat, who had carded a morning 71, and Brier, who had overcome his inauspicious start, at the top of the pile.
It proved a brief stay for the man from York, however, as he recorded a triple bogey seven at the 11th.
And, although he pulled a shot back at the 13th, a double bogey at the 14th when he found the water compounded Dyson's misery.
Finch moved to five-under and first place outright with birdies at the 12th and 13th following but he could not hold on to his advantage either as some poor chipping led to a double bogey at the 14th and that was followed by another dropped shot at the 15th.
That gave Choi the chance to establish an unexpected lead and after the 35 year old made a crucial par save on the 12th having birdied the previous two holes, he rolled in a ten footer for birdie on the 13th and from the fringe on the 14th to move to seven under.
A bogey at the 15th brought him back to within two of the chasing pack but the Korean was satisfied he hung in after a poor start that saw him drop a shot at the first hole.
"I three putted the first hole and then I had to work hard for the rest of my round and I'm going to take that through the rest of the tournament," he said.
Starting at the tenth, McGinley had taken advantage of benign morning conditions to sink five birdies over his opening nine holes before playing the last nine in level par to leap into contention.
"I played pretty well yesterday but putted really, really poorly. I played pretty much the same but putted fantastically, that's the difference. A 74 yesterday, 67 today, just shows the difference," he said.
"The greens are firm and slopey, you have to be very precise with your distance control.
"If you can hit between ten and 14 greens around here, I think you've played very well and then the big key is to putt well, which fortunately I did."
“The conditions were more difficult plus I made it more difficult for myself, especially at the beginning of the round because I had problems getting my irons on line so I missed a lot of the greens at the start of the day,” said Brier.
“But after making two bogeys at the start I managed to recover and keep it together. It could have gone much worse.”
Dyson birdied the 15th and 17th to remain in the hunt and was relatively pleased despite his troubles coming home.
"I hit one bad tee shot, made seven, and then I was a bit unlucky with my second shot on 14. I had a bit of mud on my ball which took it straight left into the water," he said.
"I dropped five shots in two holes and shot one over so bar that, it was a pretty good day. I played really nice."
|DEL MORAL, Carlos||ESP||18||Par|