Local prospect Jin seizes halfway lead at white mountain wanda open
Jilin, China June 30: Local hope Daxing Jin returned with the day’s best round of six-under-par 66 to seize the halfway lead by one shot over Rak Hyun Cho of Korea at the White Mountain Wanda Open on Friday.Jin, who started his campaign with a 70, marked his card with one eagle and seven birdies against three bogeys to sit atop the leaderboard on eight-under-par 136 total at the picturesque Jilin White Birch Club.
Australian Peter Martin signed for a 69 to move within three shots off the pace in third place with overnight co-leader Mark Baldwin of the United States, who was cruising on -10 before suffering from a brutal nine on the par-four 18 to settle for a 72.
Australian duo Deyan Lawson and Mathew Perry shared fifth place on 140 following matching rounds of 71 while local duo Zeyu He and Tuxuan Wu were amongst those bunched in seventh place on 141 at the￥1.35 million event, which is the third stop on the China Tour this season.
Jin, who is playing in his hometown this week, rode on his home comfort to return with a commendable round, overcoming an uncharacteristic run of poor form where he barely finished inside top-50 in the first two events this season.
“I got off to a slow start but the birdie-eagle on fourth and fifth helped me gain some momentum heading into the round. I hit my six-iron onto the green and sank the eagle-putt from four yards. That was the highlight and turning point for me,” said the 24-year-old Chinese.
“Overall, my tee shots were not very good. I made mistakes on three holes today. I will have to work on my strategies again. The rest was pretty good. I putted well. I had about 25 putts today.
“If not were my putting, I wouldn’t be able to sign for such a good score today. Tee shots are very important if you want to play well on this course. It’s ok if you can still find your ball. If you lose your ball, it will be very difficult.
“I hit about eight to nine fairways today. It will be great with we get world ranking points on the China Tour. It will be a totally different level and if the events are afforded with world ranking points, we can attract a lot more foreign players to come and play.
“That will definitely increase the playing standards on Tour and it can help us improve as well,” added Jin, who is chasing for a first win since turning professional in 2011.
Cho, who won the season-opener earlier this month, overcame a sluggish start where he made a double-bogey on the first with six birdies to keep himself in contention as he chases for a second victory.
“I didn’t get off to a good start. I had a double-bogey on the first after hitting a ball out of bound. It was similar to yesterday as I bogeyed the first hole in the first round as well. But I knew I had an advantage on the par-fives.
“Four out of the five par-fives here are pretty reachable for me. I just tried to stay calm and play shot by shot. When the opportunity comes, I just take it,” said Cho, who had agonizingly missed out on his second win after losing to Bryden Macpherson on the third playoff hole last week.