Robert-Jan Derksen and Charl Schwartzel shared a one stroke lead on the second day at the UBS Hong Kong Open after the duo improved to eight under par on a sunny afternoon in Fanling.
With PGA Championship winner YE Yang (67) and Malaysia’s Danny Chia (66) in the clubhouse at seven under par after battling the overcast morning conditions, Derksen and Schwartzel set about creating a halfway lead in a much improved scoring environment.
Yang, who carded a 66 yesterday in contrasting conditions, admitted he had to adapt during his second round at Hong Kong Golf Club.
“The temperature was a surprise to me as I was not expecting this kind of weather in Hong Kong,” he said.
“I had a hard time warming up and I had some difficulties trying to find my distance.
“I think I've a fair chance this weekend. I've been playing well since the last round in Shanghai and hopefully I'll perform well this weekend too.”
Chia too conceded the changing weather conditions made an impact on scoring.
“We had all kinds of weather over the last four days. From hot to cool to cold like today,” he said.
“It definitely made a difference to how you plan for your round, but I hit a lot of fairways these two days and I guess that's the key when you play in a golf course like this.”
Derksen, second overnight following a first round 63, began with a disappointing early double bogey but a run of three straight birdies left the two time European Tour winner one under at the turn.
South African Schwartzel picked up three shots in four holes at the start of his back nine to build on his bogey-free first round 65.
David Dixon and defending champion Lin Wen-tang sit at seven under after making solitary gains to add to first rounds of 64.
Peter Lawrie (68) and SSP Chowrasia (69) are safely in the clubhouse at six under, with Rory McIlory, Rory Sabbatini and Liang Wen-chong improving to that mark during their second rounds.
The Race to Dubai candidate McIlory picked up two birdies over his front nine, but it could have been so much better for the Holywood golfer after he missed a two foot birdie putt at nine before seeing a six foot chance at 12 lip out.
The Race to Dubai leader Lee Westwood played the first 13 holes of his second round in level par to remain at four-under-par.
First round leader Udorn Duangdecha tumbled down the leaderboard as the Thai failed to capitalise on his storming 62 with a four-over-par 74 that included four bogeys and a double-bogey.
Meanwhile, 15-year-old Hong Kong amateur Jason Hak is set to make the cut for a second successive year after carding a second round three-under-par 67.
Last year playing in his first European Tour event Hak became the youngster player to make the cut in European Tour history after beating Sergio Garcia’s record which had stood for 13 years. His three-under-par total will comfortably secure a berth over the weekend.
“I enjoyed today very much,” he said.
“My iron shots were great, but I think I need to work on my putting. Over the weekend I will try and enjoy playing with the international stars and use the same game plan.”