(Reuters) - Frenchman Alexander Levy fired a course record 10-under-par 62 to storm four shots clear after the second round of the China Open on Friday and in pole position to claim a first European Tour title.
Levy, 23, fired eight birdies and an eagle in his second round after returning early to par the final hole of his first round after fading light had ended the opening day’s play prematurely.
The 14-under mark of 130 left him well clear of unheralded Spaniard Adrian Otaegui (66), with joint overnight leader Alvaro Quiroz (68) in third a further shot back.
“It is a great round for me,” Levy told the European Tour.
“I played unbelievably today and it’s the first time I have played like that. I really like the course and it is in great shape.”
Levy’s best finish on the circuit was tied third at the BMW championship in Germany last year but a hot putter gave the world number 282 hope of entering the winner’s circle after his best ever round on tour.
Big-hitting Spaniard Quiros produced a mix bag on Friday, compiling six birdies and an eagle in his round that also featured four bogeys.
Those differing scores were matched by England’s Ian Poulter who went double bogey, triple bogey in his second round to be in the danger of missing the halfway cut.
The Englishman, however, recovered to birdie his penultimate hole to register a 74 to leave him at one-under for the tournament.
That was level with defending champion Brett Rumford of Australia, who fell down the field after a 75 which left his bid to become the first man to defend the title in ruins.
World number three Henrik Stenson was two shots better off on three-under after a 70 on Friday after the Swede’s six birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.
Stenson can leapfrog world number one Tiger Woods at the top of the rankings but the American’s position looks safe with the Swede well off Levy’s pace.
The cut was set at level par with U.S. PGA champion Jason Dufner just scraping into the weekend on the button after a one-under 71.
Writing by Patrick Johnston; editing by Amlan Chakraborty