Damien McGrane and Michael Hoey ended up missing the cut by two strokes as Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard joined Chilean Felipe Aguilar in a share of the lead at the Volvo China Open.
The cut eventually fell at three under par with McGrane and Hoey, who had finished the weather-delayed second round on time, back on one under at Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing.
Bjerregaard, runner-up to Justin Rose in the USB Hong Kong Open last year, carded the joint best of the day 65 to tie overnight leader Aguilar, who signed for a five under 67, on 16 under par.
The 22 year old’s round was matched only by former Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts, who was joined in a share of third place by China’s Haotong Li (66(.
Li, who is targeting a maiden European Tour victory after losing out to Kiradech Aphibarnrat in a play-off at last year’s Shenzhen International, shares third spot with Englishman Tyrrell Hatton (67) and Swede Alex Noren (68).
“I'm quite happy. I think it was a good round of golf today, I didn't make too many mistakes. I only made one mistake and that was because I don't know the golf course very well.
“My putting is my weakest part of my golf game. It's been very poor for the last six months and I switched putter this week and that was thanks to Fabrizio Zanotti. I went in his bag and took his putter. He was kind enough to let me use it and I think that's been the biggest difference - that I've made some putts that I really needed to make. I haven't three-putted so far.
“I've been playing good enough this week with the way I've been doing I probably will use the same strategy tomorrow. You have so many players out here who can shoot a low score and tomorrow somebody who wins is going to have to shoot a low score. Hopefully it will be me.”
“I played nicely today and got things going a little bit on three there, holed a six iron from 160 metres but other than that the front nine was pretty quiet – didn’t really hit anything close and just kept getting two putt pars.
“I hit some good shots on the back nine and making some putts as well, then I thinned my chip shot over the green on 17 and then made the putt from there so all in all a very good day, and two bogey-free rounds in a row for me which is really nice.
“I had a couple of good runs at the end of last year so I’ll try and use all the experience I got there and try and go out and finish it off tomorrow.”
“Today was a really good day for me, I thought it was a wonderful round and I made a lot of birdies, especially on the front nine with four birdies in a row. Even with all those birdies, I still missed about four putts from inside 15 feet.
“My long game is getting way better now, it’s getting there, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s really exciting because I know a lot of my friends and other people will come here to support me – especially because it’s here in China – it’s really exciting so hopefully I’ll play well tomorrow.”
"I played well all day, struck the ball very well. I made a great par on a par five on the back nine that kept that momentum I was building on and then finished it off with a nice birdie on the last.
"I was very composed, even though the scores are pretty low, you've still got to hit good shots to give yourself birdie chances. It's a lot of crosswinds and it's not very easy to find the right portions of the greens so I'm actually surprised that the scores are so low.
"Even just today you feel part of it and it felt good. I'm excited for tomorrow. Even though I felt like I always put myself in a decent position to make a move and I never quite made it, it feels good to be able to keep building."
“I feel like I grinded out a score, I didn’t play that well but my putter saved me on a few occasions and I’m in a good position going into to
“I hit a horrible tee shot at the first, a three wood into the water which is a nightmare start, but I gave myself some good opportunities early on and then I holed that really long eagle putt at eight, which you don’t see go in often so that was nice. That kick-started the round and it was a good score in the end.
“The other guys got off to a good start so I had to get a few birdies and play catch-up. Two shots behind – Ive been putting really well this week so if I can give myself a few opportunities tomorrow, hopefully I can then take them."
“It wasn’t as good as yesterday but there was also more wind and this pollen stuff flying around, you have to take them off your eyelashes and it kind of slows you down a bit. It was warmer too and there’s more to play for than early on a Friday morning so you feel the heat a little more.
“I got it together though and I hit a lot of good shots so I’m happy with four under. It’s very open and I think anybody shooting a low score tomorrow will win.
“I think if the course is set up in a fun way tomorrow - where we can reach four or five holes in one shot less than the regulation, and there are a lot of easier holes and tricky holes – there could be a lot of birdies and eagles. I’m really looking forward it because sometimes you can be playing really tough course and you really have to work hard. Here you can make a bogey but you’ll still get chances so that will make it a lot of fun.”
200 F Aguilar (Chi) 68 65 67, L Bjerregaard (Den) 68 67 65,
202 N Colsaerts (Bel) 70 67 65, A Noren (Swe) 67 67 68, L Haotong (Chn) 69 67 66, T Hatton (Eng) 68 67 67,
203 G Havret (Fra) 70 66 67,
204 R Bland (Eng) 69 67 68, M Siem (Ger) 68 67 69, P Hanson (Swe) 66 71 67, F Zanotti (Par) 66 71 67,
205 H Otto (RSA) 63 71 71, M Carlsson (Swe) 69 70 66, J Campillo (Esp) 70 67 68, A Levy (Fra) 70 67 68, B Virto Astudillo (Esp) 67 70 68, R Ramsay (Sco) 68 70 67, G Bourdy (Fra) 66 72 67,
206 B Hebert (Fra) 69 70 67, J Lagergren (Swe) 68 71 67, D Lipsky (USA) 69 67 70, H Porteous (RSA) 69 69 68, J Carlsson (Swe) 69 72 65,
207 S Hend (Aus) 71 68 68, T Olesen (Den) 71 66 70, T Kim (Kor) 71 64 72, R Fisher (Eng) 72 67 68, R Wattel (Fra) 72 66 69, B Wiesberger (Aut) 65 69 73,
208 C Lee (Sco) 72 68 68, N Holman (Aus) 68 71 69, M Jiménez (Esp) 69 68 71,
209 R Paratore (Ita) 69 68 72, S Gallacher (Sco) 69 69 71, L Slattery (Eng) 71 70 68, B Dredge (Wal) 70 69 70, M Kieffer (Ger) 70 66 73, D Brooks (Eng) 70 69 70,
210 G Boyd (Eng) 72 65 73, R Jacquelin (Fra) 70 69 71, D Fichardt (RSA) 69 70 71, R Kakko (Fin) 66 74 70, J Luiten (Ned) 67 71 72, P Edberg (Swe) 72 66 72, S Benson (Eng) 72 67 71,
211 R Karlberg (Swe) 69 71 71, J Quesne (Fra) 70 70 71, T Fisher Jnr (RSA) 70 68 73, G Storm (Eng) 73 68 70, C Paisley (Eng) 71 69 71, M Warren (Sco) 73 68 70, J Winther (Den) 68 71 72, B Rumford (Aus) 70 69 72, N Cullen (Aus) 70 71 70, E De La Riva (Esp) 69 70 72,
212 R Davies (Wal) 71 68 73, S Gros (Fra) 72 69 71, L Chieh-Po (Tpe) 69 68 75, D McKenzie (Aus) 71 69 72, D Zecheng (Chn) 72 68 72, J Scrivener (Aus) 72 69 71,
214 W Wei-Huang (Chn) 72 69 73, D Drysdale (Sco) 72 69 73,
216 W Murillo (Ven) 68 72 76,
217 W Ashun (Chn) 71 70 76,
221 R Fox (Nzl) 72 69 80,
143 Michael Hoey (NIr) 74 69; Damien McGrane (IRL) 71 72.