Choi takes China Open lead

Updated: April 17, 2009, 10:58 AM ET
Reuters

BEIJING -- Choi Ho-sung of South Korea picked up four shots to claim the second-day lead with a 6-under-par 138 at the $2.2 million China Open on Friday.

Choi, who started the day at 2-under, made six birdies to finish the round on 68 at the Beijing CBD International Golf Club.

Overnight leader Markus Brier of Austria ended up on a total of 4-under, tied for second with Thai Chapchai Nirat.

"I made a big surprise for you guys," the 36-year-old Choi told reporters. "This course is very suitable to me. I think it is a course for me. It is my course."

Brier slid from the top after hitting three bogeys in a 73 while Chapchai, tied for fourth after the first round, picked up a shot on the opening nine to rise to a share of second, two off the pace.

Ireland's Paul McGinley fired six birdies in his 5-under 67 for the best round of the day. He shared fourth place with Spaniard Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, who shot 70, three strokes behind the leader.

Leader Choi bogeyed his first hole but quickly recovered with two birdies in a row at the fifth and sixth. He picked up further shots at the 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th, before dropping a one at the 15th.

"I did a three-putt at the first hole and felt that I had to work harder. I kept this in mind during the whole tournament," the South Korean said.

Choi, who did not turn professional until he was 28, was confident of his mental strength for the coming rounds.

"Actually I don't have any special strategy for the next two rounds ... In the third and final rounds I will just focus on the putting and approaching shots, which I think are the key points for winning the tournament," he said.

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie carded a second successive 73 to remain 2-over.

Irish defending champion Damien McGrane carded three bogeys to finish with a 74 and is 2-over for the event.

Bogeys at the first and fourth followed by double bogey at the eighth left home favorite Liang Wenchong with a two over on his card.

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