Lorenzo-Vera shoots 69, holds lead at China Open

Updated: April 18, 2008, 9:36 AM ET
Reuters

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.

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