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Campbell New Leader in Hong Kong Open; McIlroy Misses Cut
Michael Campbell vaulted up the top of the leaderboard through 36 holes of the Hong Kong Open after firing a 6-under 64 Friday. Coupled with his opening 67, the 43-year-old stands at 9-under 131 in the $2.7 million tournament at Hong Kong Golf Club
The 2005 U.S. Open champion from New Zealand is a stroke ahead of three other veterans, 47-year-old Zhang Lianwei of China, 48-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, 48, and Sweden's Fredrick Andersson Hed, 40. Jimenez shot 67, and Zhang and Hed both had a 66 to reach 132.
In addition to the four oldsters ruling the Hong Kong Open roost after the first two rounds, the big news from the tournament is that defending champion and No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy missed the cut.
The 23-year-old Northern Irishman never got untracked this week, posting rounds of 73 and 72 to go home early for the first time in a tournament since the U.S. Open in June.
McIlroy had a chance to play over the weekend. Starting on the 10th tee, he doubled the first hole but carded three birdies to make the turn in 1-under. He added another birdie on the second (his 11th hole) but came undone with four bogeys the rest of the way.
"Obviously, this is not the week I wanted," he said. "If I was completely fresh I wouldn't have been making those mistakes out there. I got off to a good start and had a chance to go minus five today, and then it just started going the other way and I was on a slide."
McIlroy, who this year duplicated Luke Donald's 2011 feat of winning the money-list titles on both the PGA and European tours, said he owed his 5-over total to problems on the greens. "I misjudged the speed on a couple of greens, which were pretty slick, and my putting was not at its best. I thought I would go for it on the last. I saw the projected cut and felt that, depending on the conditions later in the day and what the other guys did, I still had a chance.
"I wanted to hole it anyway, but I hit it a few feet by and still felt the second putt could be crucial, but I missed it. I just lost concentration . . . Now I am going to work on few things with my putter before playing in Dubai next week."
Meanwhile, Campbell, whose lone victory on the PGA Tour was the U.S. Open but has won eight times on the European Tour - his last title coming in September 2005 in the HSBC World Match Play Championship, had no problems on the putting surfaces at Hong Kong Golf Club. "The last couple of days, it's been pretty solid from tee to green," he said Campbell.
"You can't buy confidence, you just have to earn it, and I think I've earned it over the last seven years since I won a tournament. I have been patient."
When learning that McIlroy wouldn't be around for the final 36 holes, Campbell said with a smile, "That makes winning the UBS Hong Kong Open a lot easier."
Alone in fifth at 133 after a 64 is Anders Hansen of Denmark, while sharing sixth at 135 are Daisuke Katoaka (67) of Japan and first-round leader, Javier Colomo (71) of Spain.
Arnod Vongvanij (65), Stephen Gallacher (68), Peter Lawrie (68), Ricardo Santos (65) and Marcus Fraser (69) are tied for eighth at 136.
Scotland's Colin Montgomerie withdrew before the start of the second round, citing a foot injury.
For all the scores, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2012/tournamentid=2012090/leaderboard/index.html?showLeaderboard=Y.
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