HONG KONG – Canada’s Rick Gibson birdied five holes Friday for a one-stroke lead, and Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie shot a 4-under 66 to pull within four strokes after two rounds of the Hong Kong Open.

Gibson, at 9-under 131, was one stroke ahead of American Edward Loar, who had eight birdies with two bogeys for a 6-under 64.

Martin Erlandsson of Sweden was two strokes back at 7-under, while first-round leader Kang Wook-soon of South Korea dropped three strokes back after finishing Friday’s round at even par. Andrew Butterfield of England shot a 5-under 65 and was tied with Kang at 6-under.

Montgomerie was among five golfers at 5-under, including Australia’s Scott Strange, Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen, Australia’s Marcus Both and France’s Francois Delamontagne.

Gibson, whose last victory was at the Philippine Open in 2002, said wasn’t worried about Montgomerie.

“He’s the highest-ranked player here,” Gibson said. “He’s probably going to be in the mix on Sunday. I don’t think he’s won here yet, so all I can do is play my game.”

Montgomerie, five strokes back after the first round, carded four birdies for a 4-under 66 on the hard, fast course at the Hong Kong Golf Club.

“It is a reasonable score but disappointing in many ways that it wasn’t better,” said Montgomerie. “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.”

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain had a 3-under 67 and was four stokes back along with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and India’s Jyoti Randhawa.

The cut was 1-over par 141. Notables missing the cut were England’s Paul Casey (142) – who won the China Open at Shenzhen last weekend in a playoff – Italy’s Costantino Rocca (145), France’s Thomas Levet (146) and Sweden’s Daniel Chopra (149).



On the Net:

http://www.ubshongkongopen.com

AP-ES-12-02-05 0625EST


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