Rose blossoms as Poulter lurks in Hong Kong

Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:25am EDT
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HONG KONG (Reuters) - England's Justin Rose fired a four-under-par 66 to grab the halfway lead at the co-sanctioned Hong Kong Open on Friday with past champion and late arrival Ian Poulter well placed in the chasing pack.

World number seven Rose, who missed the cut on his one previous appearance at Fanling in 2011, overcame his first bogey of the week to fire five birdies and post a nine-under tally of 131 at the European and Asian Tour event.

The 2013 U.S. Open champion was one clear of in-form Dane Lucas Bjerregaard, who has three top 10 finishes in the last month and also shot a 66 on Friday.

Joint overnight leader Lu Wei-chih of Taiwan was in a share of third after a second-round 69 left him tied with Englishman Poulter on seven-under.

Rose was wary of his compatriot, who was a last minute entry for the tournament, fell outside of the top 50 in the world rankings on Sunday and needed to play another European Tour event to preserve his membership for next year.

"Poulter is a past champion is and he's on the leaderboard," Rose said of the 2010 champion.

"He's always good when he's got something to prove, and he's probably a dangerous guy now that he's outside the top 50 in the world, and I know that he'll be desperate to get back in it.

"He always plays well when he has motivation, so he's obviously going to be tough to beat too."

Poulter completed a mad dash from Florida on Wednesday after 2002 U.S. PGA Champion Rich Beem gave up his place in the field.   Continued...

Justin Rose of England hits a shot on the seventh fairway during the first day of the Hong Kong Open golf tournament in Hong Kong, China October 22, 2015. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu