Date: May 09, 2008

Hend in hot pursuit

Scott Hend and a barnstorming Gary Simpson have made the most of a faltering Tony Carolan to become the leading Australians at the halfway point of the Beijing Open. Hend (eight under) and Simpson (seven under) are four and five shots respectively off outright leader Japanese Hiroyuki Fujita. Hend replicated his opening round of 68 on day two and he offset his three bogeys on the 3rd, 12th and 14th holes with seven birdies to claim sole ownership of fourth position. However, Simpson was one of the biggest movers of the tournament in the second round as helped himself to a seven-under-par round of 65 and zoomed up the leaderboard from equal 59th position at the start of the day into a share of fifth by the end. Carolan could only manage an even round of 72 after reeling off a six-under-par round of 66 on Thursday and he is now in a tie for ninth spot after starting Friday in outright third position. But Fujita is now the man to catch after he replaced Thailand&aposs Chinnarat Phadungsil atop the leaderboard with a blistering second round of 65. Fujita, who now enjoys a two-stroke lead over the field, registered nine birdies – including a hot streak between the 11th and 13th holes – and is now 12 under with two rounds to play. Phadungsil (10 under) is now in outright second spot while Taiwanese Wang Ter-chang (nine under) rocketed up to third spot after being equal 59th.