A magical round of -9 under par, 63 has put Mikko Ilonen three shots clear of the field at the Volvo China Open.
Mikko Ilonen / Getty Images
Mikko put together a stunning second round at the Binhai Lake Golf Course to give himself a three shot breathing space between himself and second placed Brett Rumford and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Amazingly the two-time Tour winner managed to throw in a bogey on the round, at the 17th hole. Mikko now has a tournament total of -12 under par, with Brett and Kiradech sitting three behind on -9 under par.
Mikko reported that it had been a stress free round, with good putting being the key;
“I hit the ball better than yesterday, I gave myself a few more chances on the greens, especially on the back nine, and managed to take quite a few of them, so it was a very stress-free round today. I didn’t put myself in any trouble at all, which is always nice, and it’s nice to be three ahead going into the weekend. I’ve had a couple of other 63’s on the Tour before, but it’s difficult to compare. For example, I may have played better and only shot a 69. I’ve probably struck the ball better this year, but I don’t think I’ve putted better. It’s a good number of birdies definitely, I felt really good with my putter.”
Aussie Brett, who won last week, is enjoying his time in the limelight;
” This is a new week and another tournament. I feel good, my fitness is good and my energy levels feel nice and high, so hopefully I can ride the wave over the weekend and keep the good feelings going. It’s a nice feeling when you’re holing putts and seeing your name up near the top of the leaderboard. You’ve got to make the most of these moments when they come along, and I’m managing to do that at the minute.”
Thai Kiradech is full of confidence with his driver;
” My driver has done very well for the first two days, when you have the chance to hit it long and get on the greens in regulation then you have a good chance to do well. I think I made 17 greens today. I plan to play as much as I can in Europe this year. Winning in Malaysia gave me a lot of confidence, and I hope to keep that as I carry on this year. I will always try to do my best.”
The overnight leader of the tournament, Robert-Jan Derksen was a shot further back in fourth spot after a second round of -2 under par,70. Spain’s Pablo Larrazábal and England’s Lee Slattery shared fifth place on -7 under par.
Missing the cut here at the Volvo China Open was the 12 year-old amateur Chinese player and Tour debutant Ye Wo-cheng, to his credit at +14 over par he was not the last player in the field. By complete contrast, sixteen year-old amateur Dou Ze-cheng not only made the cut, at -2 under par, but to the delight of the home crowd is the leading Chinese player in the Tournament.