Canadian Gibson Grabs Lead in Hong Kong


European TourHONG KONG -- Canadian Rick Gibson took the lead midway through the Hong Kong Open after a round of 4-under 66 on Friday.
Gibson stands at 9-under-par 131 for a one-shot lead over American Edward Loar, who shot a 6-under 66 in his second round to reach minus-8. Martin Erlandsson of Sweden is one stroke further back in third place after a 68.
Overnight leader Kang Wook-Soon of Korea, the last Asian player to win this event when he titled in 1998, managed just an even-par 70 on Friday. He is tied with England's Andrew Butterfield (65) for fourth place at minus-6.
Five players share sixth place one stroke further back, and among them might be the most dangerous man in the field.
Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, the eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner, leads the group at minus-5 after he shot a 4-under 66 Friday.
But Montgomerie and players like defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, who shot a 67 and is tied for 11th place at 4 under, are still looking up at Gibson.
Returning to action after taking three weeks off, Gibson shared second place overnight. He opened his round on the back nine with a birdie at 10 before dropping his only stroke of the day at 11.
After that, Gibson carded birdie threes at the 14th and 16th holes to make the turn at minus-7. He went on to birdie the par-3 second and par-4 sixth to overtake clubhouse leader Erlandsson.
Gibson has never been higher than 11th heading into the weekend at a European Tour event.
'It's a good field here and every time we have a co-sanctioned event with The European Tour we are guaranteed a good field,' said the Asian Tour regular. 'Anytime you are leading after two rounds, you have to be happy.'
Or lucky.
Loar looked like he was on the way to snatching the lead after playing his first nine holes -- 10 through 18 -- at 5-under par. But he was just minus-1 on the front nine to finish off his 64, which tied for the low score of the tournament and a course record on a redesigned layout at Hong Kong GC.
For his part, Montgomerie followed up his opening-round 69 with a bogey-free day beginning on the back nine. He finished strong with two birdies on his final three holes, including one at the ninth when he stuck an approach shot from the rough within five feet.
'It is always nice not to drop a shot, but four birdies was disappointing because of the way I hit the ball and how close I hit the ball,' said Montgomerie. 'Yes, it is a reasonable score, but disappointing in many ways that it wasn't better.
'But at least it has given me an opportunity to score low tomorrow and get into contention on Saturday night, which is my goal in any tournament.'
Related links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Scores - Hong Kong Open
  • Full Coverage - Hong Kong Open