LI LOOKS FOR REDEMPTION IN SHANGHAI
Li Chao took the halfway lead in the Shanghai Leg of the Omega China Tour today looking to redeem himself for an unusual mishap that cost him victory in the same event last year.
In taxing conditions caused by a stiff breeze and slick greens he carded an even-par 72 for a one stroke lead over Liao Guiming and first round leader Tsai Chi-huang from Taiwan.
Li’s score was the joint best round of the day at Grand Shanghai International Golf and Holiday Resort – where last season he received a two-shot penalty in the final round and agonizingly missed making the sudden-death play-off by two.
His caddie had put his towel into some water in order to clean his clubs but didn’t realize that the action was deemed to be ‘testing the conditions of a water hazard’.
Li finished in fourth place and frustratingly watched Zhang Lianwei beat Huang Mingjie in extra time.
“I am determined to win this year and make amends for what happened last year. I am not actually very confident with my game at the moment but that incident last year is really driving me on,” said Li, who leads on one-over-par 145.
Li was one of only two players to shoot level par registering three birdies and three bogeys.
“Level par or one over was a good score today as the course was playing difficult. You really had to hit your approach shots well or else you’d be faced with some difficult putts, whether for par or birdie,’ said Li.
The lanky Chinese golfer from Beijing triumphed in the previous event on Tour - the Yanji Golf Championship three weeks ago. That victory marked his fifth win on the circuit. He won the Order of Merit title during the Tour’s inaugural season in 2005 and finished second behind Zhang last year.
With two rounds to go Li has a lot to do if he is really to make amends for last year. Taiwan’s Wang Ter-chang is two behind after carding a 74 while Zhang is three back following a 75.
Tsai, who along with Wang are the first two players from Taiwan to be invited to play on the Tour, followed up his opening 69 with a disappointing 77 but is still very much in the hunt.
The 39 year old, who currently spends most of his time teaching at two driving ranges in Shanghai, failed to make a birdie and chalked up five bogies.
Veteran Hong Kong golfer Yau Siu Ming, also a special invite this week as part of plans to gradually open up the Tour, achieved his goal of making the cut by following up his first day 76 with an 84.