Belfast Telegraph

Wallace shows his mettle to take a one-shot lead

 

By Phil Casey

England's Matt Wallace is relishing being the man to catch after claiming the halfway lead in the Volvo China Open in Beijing.

Wallace added a second round of 70 to his opening 65 at Topwin Golf and Country Club to finish nine-under-par, a shot ahead of Australian Jason Scrivener, Spain's Nacho Elvira and American Sihwan Kim.

Defending champion Alexander Levy struggled to a 73 to be two-under-par, but with the cut falling at one under, the entire 69-strong field is separated by just eight shots.

Wallace, who led from start to finish to claim his first European Tour title in Portugal last year, said: "It was tough all day.

"The wind stayed up all afternoon and it was swirling as well.

"I couldn't get the ball close enough and it was frustrating, but it was pleasing to birdie the last after a bogey on 17 and I'll take confidence from that into the weekend.

"I'm going to sleep on the lead, which I kind of like doing and we'll go out tomorrow and try to play as well as possible. I love leading from start to finish if I can, I've done it a few times on the Alps Tour.

"We've got a long way to go but I'm playing nice stuff and I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing."

Scrivener looked like he would lead the way heading into Saturday after firing five birdies and an eagle, but had to settle for a 69 after running up a double-bogey on the ninth, his final hole of the day.

"It was very frustrating," Scrivener said. "I could feel I was kind of leaking away towards the end. I'm pretty exhausted after being awake since 2am but there are no excuses, it's just not the best way to finish a round.

"I feel like I have progressed slowly over the last couple of years and I feel like I'm close to winning out here. I've just got to put myself in these positions more often.

"I have to work hard and be persistent and hopefully that win will come soon. Eight under is a good position to be in and it's great to be in the mix for the weekend."

Meanwhile, stars of film and television will be taking a break from delivering their lines to join the best golfers in the world for a day of unscripted competition at Wentworth Club on Wednesday May 23 for the BMW PGA Championship Celebrity Pro-Am.

Making his debut in the event this year will be Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Dornan, while Damian Lewis, who portrays the character Bobby Axelrod in the hit series Billions, returns to the West Course looking to improve on a third place finish in last year's event, which is the curtain raiser to the BMW PGA Championship, the first of eight Rolex Series events on the European Tour.

Lewis has received international acclaim for his roles in Homeland and Band of Brothers, and last year he joined 2016 BMW PGA Champion Chris Wood, as well as rowing legends Sir Matthew Pinsent and Sir Steve Redgrave, to finish with an impressive team score of 24-under-par.

Belfast Telegraph

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