Ernie Els followed up Thursday's 5-under par, 67 with a 10-under par 62 on Friday to take a four stroke lead in the BMW Asian Open. The World Number 3 had eight birdies and an eagle to shoot the lowest round ever at Shanghai's Tomson Pudong Golf Club in Shanghai, China. However, since the players were allowed preferred lies, his round will not be counted as a course record.
Ernie's nearest competition lies four shots back and is a virtually unknown Kiwi, Eddie Lee. Lee fired a second round 66 to get to 11-under. Raphael Jacquelin of France shot consecutive 67s to sit at 10-under and all alone in third. Thomas Bjorn, Simon Wakefield and Jean Van De Velde (yes, that's the guy who so infamously choked at the British Open) sit tied for fourth at 8-under par.
Tiger's not the only one making swing changes. Els has adjusted his posture slightly in recent weeks and is now seeing the payoff of his work.The Big Easy ended his round with a little drama. Els roped a 4-iron on the final hole (a par 5) to within eight inches of the cup to finish his round with eagle. Els is searching for his third European Tour Order of Merit award and 21st European title.
New Zealand's Lee is a no-name on the European Tour, but has played well on the Asian Tour missing only four cuts in 16 events in 2004. Lee is playing well and has carded only one bogey in his first two rounds.
Other notables include Ryder Cup players Paul Lawrie, Luke Donald, Paul Casey and Colin Montgomerie. Lawrie is in a tie for eighth, while Donald is tied for 12th. Casey and Monty were just lucky to make the cut at even par. Monty is looking to crack the World Top 50 to earn a spot in the US Open. He'll need to turn things around if he hopes to do that.
Defending champ Miguel Angel Jimenez has been struggling to repeat. He stands in a tie for 47th and 1-under par. The cut was made at even-par 144.
Pos Player Tot R1 R2 1 Ernie Els -15 67 62 2 Eddie Lee -11 67 66 3 Raphael Jacquelin -10 67 67 T4 Thomas Bjorn -8 71 65 T4 Jean-François Lucquin -8 70 66 T4 Jean Van De Velde -8 67 69 T4 Simon Wakefield -8 67 69 T8 Peter Lawrie -7 67 70 T8 Jeev Milkha Singh -7 69 68 T10 Patrik Sjoland -6 70 68 T10 Richard Sterne -6 69 69 T12 Larry Austin -5 67 72 T12 Christian Cevaer -5 70 69 T12 Luke Donald -5 70 69 T12 Soren Hansen -5 69 70 T12 Wade Ormsby -5 72 67 T12 David Wal -5 70 69
Television coverage is on the Golf Channel as follows:
Saturday 4/30 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET TGC Sunday 5/1 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET TGC
Photo Credit: © William R. Sallaz/SI.