BEIJING, CHINA—Australia’s Kevin Yuan fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65 to move to 11-under and secure a one-shot lead over three Americans at the halfway stage of this week’s RMB 1.6 million Beijing Championship.
Americans Max McGreevy and Ryann Ree each shot 64 to share second, along with Matthew Negri, who shot 65 at the Ian Woosnam-designed Topwin Golf and Country Club.
Yuan is playing his second full year on the Tour and despite not yet recording a top-10, he did make 10 out of 12 cuts in 2018 and is leading a Tour event for the first time in his young career.
The 22-year-old from Sydney has had a strong opening over the first two days, picking up 14 birdies, with only one bad hole—a triple bogey on hole 14 in the opening round.
“The last two days I’ve been playing really good. When I get an opportunity, I’ve been making the putts, which really helps. Also, I’ve been hitting my driver really well,” said Yuan. “My gameplan was to just give myself as many opportunities as I could, and there were a couple easy par-5s and short par-4s which I capitalized on today.”
This year, Yuan has been steadily improving. After missing the cut at the season-opening Chongqing Championship, he tied for 54th in Sanya and followed that with a tie for 26th at the Haikou Championship.
Yuan, who turned pro in 2017, is chasing his first professional victory and will be hoping to feed off his playing partners this weekend when he tees off in the final group at 10:20 a.m. alongside Negri and Ree.
“I think I’ll be a little nervous but I’m also definitely excited. I think it will be super good for me to play with other players who are obviously playing well, so that will be a good experience. I’m looking forward to it,” said Yuan. “I have never won a professional tournament, so this is exciting. I need to make every shot count this weekend.”