Big Names Trailing in China


2007 Volvo China OpenBEIJING, China -- France's Michael Lorenzo-Vera posted a 5-under-par 67 Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over seven players after one round of the China Open.
New Zealand Open winner Richard Finch leads a pack of players at minus-4, and is joined in second place by Simon Griffiths, Jason Knutzon, Chao Li, Joost Luiten, Damien McGrane and Zane Scotland.
Lorenzo-Vera stumbled out of the gate with a bogey on the first, but he bounced right back to birdie the second.
He moved into red figures with a birdie on the par-3 sixth at Beijing CBD International Golf Club, and a birdie on the ninth helped him turn in minus-2.
Lorenzo-Vera, who was the top player on the Challenge Tour last year, moved within one of the lead with a birdie on the 11th. He gained a piece of the top spot when his birdie effort on the 14th found the bottom of the cup.
The Frenchman birdied the par-5 closing hole to take the outright lead. This is the first time in his brief European Tour career that Lorenzo-Vera has held the lead after any round.
Lorenzo-Vera admits that he is still adjusting to the regular tour.
'I am just learning on the season,' admitted Loreonzo-Vera. 'I like to learn in competition, that's the best way to learn. We have a very good group, the French caddies and players. They all tell me to be calmer and more confident in my game.
'When I first came out, I was on the practice range and saw Vijay Singh and Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson and I was thinking 'where is my game?' I just have to be more confident in what I am doing. That's what I am trying to do.'
Griffiths had a flying start with birdies on two, five and six. He kept rolling as he holed a five-wood from 200 yards out for eagle on the par-four seventh to jump to 5 under.
After birdies on eight and 11, Griffiths was in the lead at 7 under. However, he stumbled to three straight bogeys from the 13th to fall into a share of second.
Finch had an up-and-down round. He birdied the 10th, then made eagle on the 355-yard 11th. Finch dropped a shot on 12, but birdied the 13th.
A bogey on 14 dropped Finch to minus-2, but he atoned for the error with a birdie on 15. After five pars around the turn, he birdied the third then tripped to a bogey at five before a birdie at the eighth gave him a share second place.
Knutzon and Luiten each posted bogey-free rounds, while Li and McGrane each posted five birdies and a bogey. Meanwhile, Scotland collected six birdies and two bogeys.
Rafael Echenique, Jose-Filipe Lima, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Airil Rizman are tied for ninth place at 3-under-par 69. There are five more players one stroke further back at minus-2.
Defending champion Markus Brier is part of a large group tied for 18th at 1-under-par 71.
Four-time European Tour winner David Howell was tied for the lead late in his round before trouble struck. He played the back nine first and was 5 under through 13 holes. However, he stumbled to bogeys on six and eight before faltering to a triple-bogey on the par-5 ninth to end at even-par 72.
'Five under would have been miraculous, 3 under great, but level is disastrous,' Howell stated.
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