<
>

Lorenzo-Vera shoots 69, holds lead at China Open

4/18/2008

BEIJING -- Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera
overcame blustery conditions and an attack of nerves to shoot
a 3-under-par 69, maintaining a one-stroke lead
through two rounds at the China Open on Friday.

Lorenzo-Vera dropped four shots but also fired seven birdies
in rising afternoon winds at the CBD International course for an 8-under total of 136, one shot ahead of Ireland's
Damien McGrane and Briton Richard Finch.

"I feel super happy because last night it was quite hard for
me to get to sleep. I was thinking too much about what would
happen during the week," he said.

Chasing his first European Tour title, Lorenzo-Vera wrested
back the lead after surrendering it to Finch with a double-bogey
at No. 14, his fifth hole.

"I sank two good putts for par and made a great birdie on
the 17th that made me more confident and the putting came back,"
Lorenzo-Vera said.

Finch played earlier Friday in calmer conditions. He hit five
birdies for a 69, including which included a 45-foot putt at the seventh.

"First thing this morning it was benign," he said. "The
greens had just been cut and we were the second group out so it
was perfect.

"The wind did pick up as we played the back nine but nothing
compared to yesterday."

McGrane carded a bogey-free 69 that featured 10 pars in a
row at the start.

"I made the most of my opportunities and kept as many bogeys
off the card as possible. That's what you have to do out there,
it's a difficult course," McGrane said.

Briton Oliver Wilson was two shots off the pace at 138 after
birdying the last four holes for tournament-best 66.

Defending tournament chamopion Markus Brier of Austria was another two strokes behind, tied with British pair Zane Scotland and Simon Griffiths
and American Jason Knutzon.

Australian Adam Groom provided the day's highlight with a
hole-in-one at the 199-yard, par-three third.

"I landed a nice tee shot there yesterday so I quite like
that hole," Groom told reporters after finishing seven strokes
off the pace with a 2-under 70 for 143.