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Liang grabs control of Nanshan China Masters

2012-10-13 17:19

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Chinese golf ace Liang Wenchong fired a brilliant four-under-par 67 on Friday to grab a one stroke lead over Australian Aaron Townsend after two rounds of OneAsia's 1-million-U.S.-dollar Nanshan China Masters.

Liang is seven under par for the tournament against a classy field that includes Major winners Y.E. Yang (68), who is joint third and three shots behind, and South African Louis Oosthuizen (72), who is eight shots off the pace.

Players have found scoring tough on the Nanshan International Golf Club's 6,539 meter (7,151 yard) Danling course, but Liang has been imperious in pursuit of his first title since 2010 when he won twice on OneAsia en-route to claiming the Order of Merit.

He has experimented with putters, switched drivers and taken to the gym in a bid to recapture the sort of form that saw him set a course record with an eight-under 64 at the U.S. PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in 2010 when he finished joint eighth.

He credited his management team with looking after his interests and allowing him to concentrate on his game.

"I reached my low point last year, but things are coming back," he said. "I'm 34 years old already, and I now have a good management team to service my needs.

"Now all I need to do is to try my best to live and practice like a player -- that's all -- and wait for the wins to come."

Townsend is also coming into form at the right time following a strong finish at the Charity High1 Resort Open last month, and after shooting 67 on Friday said he liked the tough layout.

"It's what I have been looking for all year -- a good strong golf course that plays a bit long," he said.

"It looks like I'll have some good partners to play with tomorrow, so I'll go out there and hopefully do the same thing again."

Yang said he was very happy with his round despite a bogey on his last, but reckons he will have to go on the offensive to catch Liang.

"Four strokes behind on this course is a big lead, so with that gap I will have to play more aggressively tomorrow," he said.

New Zealand's Gareth Paddison (69) moved into joint third place despite a three-putt from four feet giving him a double-bogey on the eighth.

"The eighth really sucks and it left a bad taste in the mouth, but if you offered me this score before I started I would have taken it."

Paddison won the Victoria PGA on the Australasian Tour earlier this year and thought it was the harbinger of things to come. He admits, however, he has not met his own expectations.

"I haven't kept going and its probably been a disappointing year," he said.

"I've just been making up the numbers really, so it's definitely time to push on. At least now I am going in the right direction."

He was joined at three under by Australian Jamie Arnold who fired a 70 to go with his opening 69.

Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, headed straight to the range after his second round 72 left him one over for the tournament.

Three under at the turn, he missed a short birdie putt on the first -- playing the course back-to-front -- that seemed to take the wind out of his sails.

"It was very disappointing," he said. "I just finished poorly and hit a few very loose shots.

"I'm not saying the guys at three under don't have a chance, but I've certainly got a bit of work to do".

Australian Mitchell Brown, meanwhile, aced the 197-meter sixth hole with a sweetly struck five iron to win a VW car worth over 35,000 dollars.

"The pin was left and I aimed for the middle, but I pulled it a bit," Brown said of his first-ever tournament hole-in-one.

"It was a pretty good shot though ... it pitched six foot short and then went in."