Cormac Sharvin dropped off the pace despite posting a one-under par 71 on day two of the Foshan Open.
On a day of hot scoring in China, the Ardglass professional found plenty of gains with six birdies on the card in total but his mistakes were also punished with three bogeys and a double halting any momentum.
As the leaders pulled away, the 27-year old finds himself in a tie for 31st, nine shots back at five-under par heading into moving day but with plenty to play for given this week’s bumper prize pot of US$500,000.
It’s Alexander Knappe who’s responsible for that fierce pace atop the board after carding his second successive seven-under par round of 65 to lead by one stroke at Foshan Golf Club.
The German reached 14-under par without carding a bogey on day two and he leads at the halfway stage by one shot ahead of Australia’s Cory Crawford, who also posted a round of 65 on day two to reach 13 under par. English duo Matthew Jordan and Ben Stow, meanwhile, share third place at 11-under par alongside Portugal’s Ricardo Santos.
Playing on an invite this week, Knappe is currently ranked 89th on the Road to Mallorca Rankings following a disappointing season, however a victory this week will catapult him into contention for a European Tour card, with current projections showing he could leap to 12th place in the Rankings.
With 14 birdies and an eagle on his card over the first two days, Knappe has highlighted his putting as a key factor for his strong performance so far this week.
“I putted really well during the first two days and I think that has been key,” he said. “It always keeps me going and I holed a long few putts today, which was good.
“I just like it out here in China because it’s hot and I can swing freely. The flowers and the nature inspire me and I just like to play on these courses.
“There was almost no wind today, maybe a half a club’s worth, and the weather couldn’t be better.
“I just tried to play my best; I don’t have a game plan. I’ll just take it shot-by-shot over the weekend and that’s it.”
A shot behind the trio of Jordan, Santos and Stow in third place are five players in a share of sixth at ten under par, including Road to Mallorca Number Five Richard Bland, Poland’s Adrian Meronk, Dutchman Lars van Meijel and Chinese player Bai Zheng-kai, who beat Stow’s one-day-old course record with a bogey-free nine under par 63.
The final player in a tie for sixth place is Scotland’s Calum Hill, who carded the fourth hole-in-one of his life on his way to a six under par 66 on day two.
“I had 167 yards and it was just perfect for an eight iron for me. I started it ten yards right of the pin and drew it in and it took one hop and disappeared into the hole,” Hill said.
“This is a fantastic event. I came here for the first time last year and the golf course is brilliant, the hospitality is amazing and it’s a brilliant event to come to. I always have a good time.”
One amateur and 70 professionals made the cut of two-under par or better and the third round will begin at 6.50am local time, with Kade McBride playing in a one-ball to begin the day.
Full scoring HERE