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October 17, 2009

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Liang hits stride to share lead at Classic

CHINA'S Liang Wenchong and Andrew Martin of Australia each shot six-under 65s yesterday to be joint leaders after the second round of the China Classic.

Liang, who won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2007, fired six birdies, while Martin carded eight but bogeyed the second and third holes at the Royal Orchid International Golf Club in Shunde, south of Guangzhou in south China's Guangdong Province.

Their eight-under 134 totals put them two strokes clear of the South Korea's Park Jun-bum (66) and Australia's Stephen Leaney (69) at the US$500,000 tournament, part of the OneAsia series that rivals the Asian Tour.

Overnight leader Craig Scott (72) of Australia was a stroke further back at five-under, along with China's Huang Wenyi (68) and Australian Brad McIntosh (71). The trio was one shot ahead of Koreans Park Jae-kyung (69) and Sung Sea-woo (72) and Irishman Eddie Barr (72).

Guangdong native Liang, joint runner-up in last month's Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open in Japan, is aiming to become the third Chinese winner of the Midea event following victories by Yuan Hao in 2005 and Zhang Lianwei in 2006. Thai legend Thaworn Wiratchant won in 2007, while Korean teenager Noh Seung-yul emerged victorious last year.

Golfing calendar

"I really want to win because I haven't won for three years in China and the Midea is one of the major events in our golfing calendar," he said.

In Las Vegas, American Tom Pernice Jr took a share of the first-round lead at the Las Vegas Open on Thursday firing a nine-under 62 to jointly head the leaderboard with Troy Matteson and Spencer Levin.

The 50-year-old Pernice Jr, whose last win on the PGA Tour was more than eight years ago, took just 26 putts and hit all but one green in regulation.

Matteson was set for the outright lead after producing four successive birdies on the back nine but he bogeyed the 17th and needed another birdie on the last to have a share of top spot.

Levin, who is half Pernice Jr's age, took his share of the lead thanks to a bogey-free round that included an eagle on the par-five 16th.

The only non-American in the top-10 was Briton Martin Laird, a shot off the lead after his eight-under 63, finishing off his round in style with four successive birdies.


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