Victorian James Marchesani and South Korea’s Seungyun Lee are both at 3-under the card and happy to be there after windy, difficult conditions Friday at the Clearwater Bay Open.
Marchesani, making his PGA TOUR-China debut, fired a 2-under-par 68 to take a share of the lead with Lee, who managed a second-round 67.
England’s Callum Tarren—who shot a 62 in last year’s Clearwater Bay Open—shot a best-of-the-day 65 to join the 19-year-old amateur Cheng Jin and Canada’s Richard Jung at 2-under and a shot back at The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club.
Taewoo Kim, who finished fourth on the 2016 PGA TOUR-China Order of Merit and played on this year’s Web.com Tour, shot a 68 Friday to move to 1-under. The 24-year-old Korean shares sixth place with Australians David Lutterus (75)—the first-round leader—and Jake Stirling (69), and American Jesse Speirs (68) after a day in which flag positions were among the biggest tests.
Marchesani, 27, is playing this week following a strong season on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, where he is currently seventh on the Order of Merit.
A former U.S. college player at Oklahoma City University, Marchesani tied for third in February’s Victorian PGA Championship, was a runner-up in August’s Fiji International and arrived in Hong Kong after ties for fifth at the Western Australia Open and seventh at the Queensland Open.
“I’ve come up here after two pretty solid weeks, and that form has sort of carried over, so it’s been nice,” said Marchesani, who was even-par after a difficult front-9 where he had three birdies, one bogey and a double bogey.
“I got off to a pretty solid start in the first six or seven holes when the wind was pretty tough and gusting, and then managed to make a couple of birdies on the back nine. I’m obviously in a good spot with a couple of rounds to go.”
Marchesani is a newcomer to this course but said he had heard plenty about the event and the TOUR from compatriots.
“I’d heard only good things about Clearwater Bay. Everyone said it’s sensational. I also had a couple of friends play the Asia-Pacific Amateur here (in 2015) and heard nothing but good things, and it’s shown that this week,” said Marchesani before referring to a conversation with defending champion Daniel Nisbet.
“Daniel asked me what I thought about the course, and I said, ‘What’s not to like?’ It’s been presented unbelievably. The greens are perfect. There’s really nothing out of place. As long as you hit the fairways, you’re good to go.”
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