Darren Clarke is in contention for his first win, two years and two months after he captured the Open. Picture © OneAsia.asiaDarren Clarke is on track to challenge for his first tournament win since he captured The Open more than two years ago.

The world No 331 is just two shots behind leaders Liang Wen-Chong (64), Zhang Xin-jun (67) and Gareth Paddison (69) in the OneAsia Tour’s Nanshan International in China after adding a bogey free, four under 68 to his opening 72.

Tied for fourth place with Rory Hie at the Montgomerie Course, Clarke insisted he must remain patient after a frustrating day on the greens and wait for the putts to drop.

“Same as yesterday, I left  a lot of putts short,” Clarke said. “I had 33 putts yesterday and I think I had 33 today. I’m hitting good putts, but I just can’t get the speed.

“I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. Obviously I’m playing nicely and this is one of the times I need to be patient and wait for the putts to drop.

“You always feel pressure if you’re in position on the back nine on Sunday, but I’ve got to get myself in that position first.

“There’s a long way to go before we get there, but I feel as may game is getting back to where I want i

Defending champion Liang  fired an extraordinary eight-under-par 64 to share the lead with countryman Zhang and New Zealander Paddison.

Liang started with an eagle and added ten birdies to his scorecard, finishing with five-in-a-row after earlier bogeying four holes. Playing the course back-to-front, he needed just 22 putts for his round.