| Jyoti Randhawa chips onto the green on the second day of the Hong Kong Open in Fanling Friday. (AFP)
Fanling: Norwegian Henrik Bjornstad and India’s Asian Tour leader Jyoti Randhawa both hit seven-under-par 62s on Friday to join five other players for a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the Hong Kong Open.
Welshman Stephen Dodd, Zimbabwe’s Tony Johnstone, Taiwan’s Ter-Chang Wang and the Swedish pair of Klas Eriksson and Marten Orlander all also finished on nine-under 129 after the first two rounds of the tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.
Frenchman Thomas Levet and American Clay Devers had a share of eighth place, a shot behind the leading pack on eight under.
Six-times Major winner Nick Faldo carded a four-under 65 on the reduced par-69 Hong Kong Club course to end the round at five under, just four strokes from the front.
Another Indian pro Arjun Singh also found his way into the top 10, with a card of three-under 66 to total seven-under 132. Arjun had a four-under 65 on the first day.
Overnight and first round leader Amandeep Johl, who had a six-under 63 on the first day, slipped down the leader board with a two-over 71, which saw him go down to tied 35th position with a total of four-under 134.
Vivek Bhandari was another one to make the cut, as he brought home a card of two-under 67 to total three-under 135 and was placed tied 44th.
Randhawa played the back nine in five-under-par 30 and is nine under for the tournament, which is joint-sanctioned by the Asian PGA-run Davidoff Tour and the European Tour.
“My wife (Tina) caddied for me Friday as my caddie (and yoga teacher) Sukhdev Singh had to go for a visa. Tina obviously brought me luck and I think I will ask her to caddie for me at the weekend,” Randhawa said.
Harmeet Kahlon, with a total of one-over 139 (69 and 70) was tied 89th after two days, while Gaurav Ghei (72 and 68) and Arjun Atwal (73 and 67) totalled two-over 140 and missed the cut.
Also missing the cut was Indian Open champion, Vijay Kumar, who had a round of six-over 75 on the first day and one-over 70 on the second day for a total of seven-over 145 for tied 124th place.
Thonchai Jaidee of Thailand, who is chasing Randhawa for the Order of Merit title, just made the cut at one-under 137 with rounds of 68 and 69 on two days. He was placed tied 64th.
Bjornstad’s good form
Bjornstad finished second behind Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal here last year, a result that remains the 23-year-old’s best in three years on the European Tour. Olazabal hit a second-round 65 on Friday to move to four under for the event.
Bjornstad began his second round from the 10th tee in lightning style with six birdies in his first eight holes including four in succession from his third hole.
But the Norwegian stalled over his inward half with five starting pars before birding two of his final four holes.
“I could have gone really low today but when I made a bogey at the 18th or my ninth, I kind of fell out of it a little bit,” he said.
“I am just hoping now I can go one place better than last year’s finish.”
Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn carded a 64 to stay in contention at six under and hopeful of second victory in 2002 after winning the BMW International Open in Munich last August.