BEIJING, CHINA—Canada’s Peter Campbell carded nine birdies in an 8-under 64 to hold a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the RMB 1.5 million Beijing Championship, the ninth event of this year’s PGA TOUR Series-China.
Campbell moved to 13-under at Topwin Golf and Country Club, where England’s Stephen Lewton (64) also fired nine birdies to move to 11-under and was later joined by Singapore’s Quincy Quek (67), one of four first-round co-leaders. The trio will play together in Saturday’s final group.
England’s Michael Skelton and American Jeffrey Kang, who won the season-opening Chengdu Championship, both shot 65 to share fourth at 10-under, one shot ahead of former PGA TOUR player David Lutterus (66) of Australia and Korean Daejin Jeong (66).
Campbell was even considering withdrawing ahead of the event after narrowly missing the cut at the Yantai Championship and Qingdao Championship over the past two weeks, but putted beautifully on the Ian Woosnam-designed layout to lead for the first time in his first season on the Tour.
“The course really suits my eye. I love the course. I hit it solid the last two days and actually made some putts today, which was nice,” said Campbell, 35, who has previously played on the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada.
“Honestly I had no intention of playing after last week, but decided to stick it out and just take a no-care attitude and see what happens. Something just kind of clicked and I started making some putts and that took some pressure off my long game. I didn’t hole anything really long today, but holed four putts about 20 feet.”
Quek, playing his third season on the Tour, had an adventurous round, holing out from over 30 feet to save par on seven and benefiting from a cart-path bounce on 17, while also missing several makeable birdie putts.
“Today’s round was a lot of ups and downs, a lot of missed birdie opportunities, but also a lot of big saves like on seven and 17 that could have gone the other way,” said Quek, who’s seeking his first title since winning on the Asian Development Tour in 2012.
“There are a lot of birdie chances out there, but there are also a lot of holes where you have to pay attention to the drive. Coming in, on 14, 15, 17, those are not easy driving holes, so I just need to able to keep the ball in play and give myself a good chance for birdie.”
Lewton, who played on the European Tour in 2011, is another experienced player in the top three seeking his first title on the Tour. The 35-year-old Englishman teed off on 10 and bagged six birdies in his first nine before carding three more and a bogey on his second nine.
“My neck and my shoulder have been sore this week, but I guess beware the injured golfer,” said Lewton, who has carded 10 eagles on the Tour this year.
“I’ve been playing well, but just not been putting very good, so it’s a nice change to have a couple of decent rounds with the putter. It gets the confidence up to see birdies going in.”
Kang, 27, won the first International Qualifying Tournament in February before winning the season-opening event in Chengdu by five shots, and appears to have regained that early-season rhythm.
“My game feels pretty good. I feel like my game’s been there, but it just has to click, so I think it’s a good start to the tournament this week and hopefully we’ll finish it up,” said Kang, who is not a fan of the par-4 seventh.
“I don’t know what’s up with that hole. Honestly, yesterday I hit into the rough, made bogey. Today I made bogey from the middle of the fairway. I played this course last year and even then No. 7 was one of those holes that I can’t really figure out.”
The cut line was 1-under and 69 players will play at the weekend.
Every tournament on this year’s PGA TOUR Series-China offers RMB 1.5 million, a 25-percent increase over purse levels from 2016.
The PGA TOUR established PGA TOUR Series-China in 2014 as its third international developmental tour, following in the footsteps of PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada. Since its inception, PGA TOUR Series-China players have received Official World Golf Ranking points for top finishes at official tournaments.