DONGGUAN, China—Playing in extreme heat and on one of Asia’s toughest courses, American Joey Lane managed to card seven birdies in 26 holes Saturday to take a four-shot lead heading into the final day of the weather-shortened Dongguan Open. Lane restarted his opening round on hole 11, at 5-under, and went on to card three more birdies to lead by four strokes after the first completed round. He then immediately began his second round and carded a 2-under 68 to set the clubhouse lead at 10-under.
Roughly half of the players managed to complete their second rounds at Mission Hills Golf Club’s Norman Course before officials suspended play due to darkness, at 6:46 p.m. The second round is scheduled to resume at 7:45 a.m., while the third and final round will begin at approximately 11:30 a.m..
Trailing Lane in solo second, at 7-under, is Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira, who birdied five of his last eight holes but still has six holes remaining in his second round. Fellow Japanese player Masamichi Uehira carded a 67 and lies tied for third, at 6-under, along with Canada’s Richard Jung (68), and American Joel Thelen, who is 3-under through 11 holes.
Lane, who played golf at Virginia Tech, is playing his first season in China after earning status through Q-School. Despite a slow start to the season, Lane backed a tie for 18th at the Suzhou Open with a tie for seventh at the Huangshan Championship. He says he is pleased with how his game has progressed as the Tour heads into its final few events of the season.
“I felt like I was playing pretty well for a little bit, but I just hadn’t had a top-five finish or I hadn’t really contended. My best finish was at Huangshan, and I had a good final round so it’s nice to be in the mix,” said Lane. “I’ve really been playing well. There have been a lot of tough pins, so I just need to hit fairways and greens. I’m sure I’ll feel some nerves, but that’s good, though; really looking forward to it.”
Lane, 24, is hoping to get his first PGA TOUR-affiliated victory, which would help him narrow the advantage good friend and roommate David Kocher holds. Kocher is currently third on the Order of Merit. A win this week would likely bump Lane inside the top 10.
“Seeing David play well helps a lot. Every other practice day we are practicing together and playing together, so I see a lot of good golf when I’m playing with him,” said Lane. “He’s obviously trying to finish top five or even win the Order of Merit, so he has high goals and I think that’s good for me to see and gives me good motivation.”