BEIJING, CHINA（May 10 , 2019)—Australia’s Kevin Yuan fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65 to move to 11-under and secure a one-shot lead over three Americans at the halfway stage of this week’s RMB 1.6 million Beijing Championship.
Americans Max McGreevy and Ryann Ree each shot 64 to share second, along with Matthew Negri, who shot 65 at the Ian Woosnam-designed Topwin Golf and Country Club.
Yuan is playing his second full year on the Tour and despite not yet recording a top-10, he did make 10 out of 12 cuts in 2018 and is leading a Tour event for the first time in his young career.
The 22-year-old from Sydney has had a strong opening over the first two days, picking up 14 birdies, with only one bad hole—a triple bogey on hole 14 in the opening round.
“The last two days I’ve been playing really good. When I get an opportunity, I’ve been making the putts, which really helps. Also, I’ve been hitting my driver really well,” said Yuan. “My gameplan was to just give myself as many opportunities as I could, and there were a couple easy par-5s and short par-4s which I capitalized on today.”
This year, Yuan has been steadily improving. After missing the cut at the season-opening Chongqing Championship, he tied for 54th in Sanya and followed that with a tie for 26th at the Haikou Championship.
Yuan, who turned pro in 2017, is chasing his first professional victory and will be hoping to feed off his playing partners this weekend when he tees off in the final group at 10:20 a.m. alongside Negri and Ree.
“I think I’ll be a little nervous but I’m also definitely excited. I think it will be super good for me to play with other players who are obviously playing well, so that will be a good experience. I’m looking forward to it,” said Yuan. “I have never won a professional tournament, so this is exciting. I need to make every shot count this weekend.”
Did you know that Kevin Yuan’s full Chinese name is Yuan Ko Wei, and he speaks fluent Chinese.
- The course this week is a par-72 totaling 7,178 yards.
- The cut line was at 2-under.
- Kevin Yuan has birdied four holes twice through 36 holes: the par-4 first and fifth holes, the par-3 sixth hole and the par-5 12th. His other birdies Friday came at the 11th, 14th and 17th holes.
- Order of Merit leader David Kocher improved on an opening-round 72 to shoot a 68 and easily make the cut. He currently lies in a tie for 41st.
- Defending champion Peter Campbell of Canada also bounced back nicely after an opening-round 72 to card a 67 and now lies in a tie for 28th.
- There are two other Australians inside the top 20. Tim Stewart is tied for 15th, and Max McCardle is tied for 20th. McCardle started his round on hole 10 and had the shot of the day when he chipped in for eagle on the 18th.
- Americans Max McGreevy, Ryann Ree, and Matthew Negri are all chasing their first PGA TOUR-affiliated victories. They are all tied for second, one shot behind Kevin Yuan.
- Max McGreevy was part of the winning Oklahoma Sooner NCAA Championship team in 2017. McGreevy was crucial in the win, clinching the final point for the team when he defeated Oregon’s Edwin Yi, 3 and 2.
- Max McGreevy was teammates with former Series player Charlie Saxon, and McGreevy played a full year on the Web.com Tour in 2018.
- Ryann Ree made 10 out of 13 Tour cuts in 2018 and finished 26th on the Order of Merit. Ree finished solo fourth at the 2018 Beijing Championship, with rounds of 68-68-68-70.
- Hong Kong’s Shunyat Hak improved nine strokes from the first and second rounds. After an opening-round 74, Hak shot a second-round 65. He now lies in a tie for 27th.
“This is my fourth time playing the course, so I have a lot of experience. There are a couple tough par-4s, where you have to keep it in the fairway, and I just tried to focus hard on those holes.” – Kevin Yuan on having played the course multiple times
“At the beginning of the year my aim was to be in contention and give myself some confidence that I can compete with some of these guys because every time I can see that players are going so low and I’m missing out by so much. I just want to be in contention and see what happens after that.” – Kevin Yuan
“[Thursday], I didn’t hit it as well as I did today and (I) didn’t make a lot of putts, but I definitely made a lot of putts today and played pretty well.” – Ryann Ree
“Today the pin positions were very accessible, and there was no wind this morning, so it was very getable.” – Ryann Ree
“In the off weeks I played golf pretty much every day. Before coming to Beijing, I played 18 holes every day, and I got a lot of practice in so I think that definitely helped.” – Ryann Ree
“I started off with 10 pars, so that was a little frustrating to begin with. But I stayed patient, and that really helped me. I had early opportunities but didn’t convert, but then I started making some birdies.” – Matthew Negri
“The pin was front-left and I hit driver and went for it and missed it a little left of the green but was able to chip in for eagle. That really started things off, and I made more birdies on the back (nine).” – Matthew Negri on his 18th-hole chip-in
“I know I can make a lot of birdies out here, and I’ve been driving it well so hopefully I can keep giving myself chances.” – Matthew Negri
“By the end of the year I would like to be top 10 on the money list and try to win an event. This one would be nice, but there are a lot of events so a lot of opportunities.” – Matthew Negri
Tournament Fast Fact
Topwin Golf and Country Club was designed by Welsh professional golfer and 1991 Masters Tournament champion, Ian Woosnam. This is the fourth PGA TOUR Series-China event hosted at Topwin.
Second-Round Weather Report
Mostly sunny. High of 85. Wind SSW at 8 mph.