Kim holds halfway advantage

4/16/2010 10:07:48 AM
Kim Do-hoon (Volvo China Open) (Volvo )
Kim Do-hoon (Volvo China Open) (Volvo )

Y E Yang ominously moved within one shot of fellow Korean Kim Do-hoon at the halfway stage of the Volvo China Open after the US PGA Championship winner produced a back-nine birdie blitz at Suzhou Jinji Lake Golf Club.

With Kim topping the second round leaderboard at 11 under par after a three under 69, Yang continued to build on an eighth place finish at the Masters Tournament last week as four consecutive birdies led to a six under par 66 to earn a share of second alongside Asian Number One Thongchai Jaidee and Welshman Jamie Donaldson.

Jaidee battled his usually reliable putter to card a two under 70, while Donaldson posted six birdies in a 68 to improve to ten under overall, a shot clear of Spain's Pablo Larrazabal (69) and Finland's Mikko Ilonen (67).

Yang was forced to scramble for par at the last after hitting his approach into a deep greenside pot bunker which are a feature of the links style back nine.

"I managed to score quite well despite the conditions yesterday and today the conditions were more friendly and I was able to be a little bit more aggressive," said the 38 year old, who opened with a first round 68.

"But after my first birdie at the first hole I dropped a shot at the second and I thought it would be an up and down roller-coaster round, but fortunately I played within my realm and played a bit better than yesterday and I am satisfied with the score.

"I think the crucial hole for me was the birdie at number nine as it opened the gate to the back nine performance. I also had an opportunity to make birdie on ten but missed that, but overall with the birdie on nine by overall demeanour and body language towards the game and towards the back nine opened up quite positivity and knowing that I needed to be in the area of ten or 11 under par, I knew I had to play more aggressively."

While Yang saved par at his final hole of a bright but breezy second day, Kim will hope his only dropped shot of the day after misjudging the wind into the final green will not become a factor over the weekend.

The 21 year old is looking to follow up a third place at the Luxehills Chengdu Open at the start of April and a maiden victory on the Korean Tour at the SBS Tomato Open just last week.

"I thought I would be quite nervous as it is a big tournament but I am very comfortable after two rounds," said the 2006 Asian Games gold medallist.

"I hope to play well this week and hopefully become the champion. I am not nervous and I feel comfortable after winning last week in Korea. I shot 64 last week and I feel I am the hottest Korean player right now."

Donaldson, who finished sixth at the Open de Andalucia in Malaga at the end of March, raised hopes of a maiden European Tour title as last year's SAS Masters runner-up continues to turn his game around after losing his card in 2006.

"I played well in Malaga and last year was great and I am ready to win. I have been playing some good golf and I have just got to keep doing the same stuff and hopefully it will happen," said Donaldson, who posted three other top ten finishes in 2009.

Luxehills Chengdu Open winner Liang Wen-chong remained in the hunt to become only the third Chinese winner of the Volvo China Open after carding a 70 to sit alone at eight under with American Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin (70) and Maybank Malaysian Open champion Noh Seung-yul (68) a further shot off the pace alongside Kim Dae-hyun (67) rounding out the top ten.

While Pavin had six birdies and four bogeys in an up and down round, European Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie - his playing partner - posted five birdies en route to a fine 68 to move to four under par for the tournament.