He Ping & Rich Beem take lead at the half way point at Mission Hills Haikou
He Ping and Rich Beem overcame challenging conditions on the Blackstone Course to take the lead at the half way point at the 2012 World Celebrity Pro-Am at Mission Hills Haikou.
A combined stableford score of 48 points was good enough to finish the day top of the leader board ahead of second place pairings Sun Nan and Liebelei Elena Lawrence, and Andy Garcia and Matt Kuchar both tied on 46 points.
In the professional individual competition, England's Simon Dyson and America's Matt Kuchar share the clubhouse lead on 41 points. The duo can leave no margin for error with Anthony Wall hot on their heels with 39 points – setting up a mouth watering finale tomorrow.
Dyson, a six time European Tour winner, looked in control from the start recording two birdies on the front nine and three on the back. Kuchar, the 2011 Mission Hills World Cup champion, showed similar composure, finishing in style with a birdie four on the 18th.
Speaking at the start of the day, world no.13 Kuchar said: "I have very fond memories here of the Blackstone Course and hopefully it will bring me luck again. My game seems to be on good form and I hope to have a good week."
Kuchar is favoured by many to do well including New Zealand professional Michael Campbell who said: "I think all 24 players competing here this week could potentially win but if you're going by world rankings it's got to be Matt Kuchar, he's won here before so he's definitely the hot favourite."
Kuchar spoke of his anticipation of playing alongside Oscar nominated Hollywood actor Andy Garcia, saying: "I'm paired with Andy Garcia and I'm greatly looking forward to it – I think it will be a lot of fun. The way I play golf, I feel like the more fun I have on the golf course the better I tend to play, so I hope that works out this week."
The celebrities endured mixed fortunes on the championship course. The team of Minka Kelly and Ian Woosnam finished with 35 points. The Hollywood actress, who has only recently taken up the sport, said:
"I've never played so much golf in my life but it was a lot of fun out there today. We had extreme weather conditions, we had a rain storm, wind and then sun but we had a good time. I want to learn more about the game and it was good watching my team-mate."
"I really enjoy golf, I've played a couple of times before but never a full eighteen holes and I think I need to work up my stamina!"
Scores were compiled from the day, with pairings playing a better ball format to determine a team score and the professionals recording their own scores for the individual competition. Play will resume tomorrow at 8.00am with Tony Jacklin and Pat Cash teeing off alongside Francis Bondad and Michael Wong.
Elsewhere, Chinese film director He Ping, Feng Xiaogang, Zhao Baogang, stars like Ge You, Yao Chen, Zhang Guoli, Zhang Jiayi, Xu Fan, Wang Zhongjun and other leading actors, directors and producers took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch a ground-breaking new development – the Mission Hills – Huayi Brothers – Feng Xiaogang movie-themed Town. The ground-breaking project will be competed in spring of 2014 and has seen an investment of over RMB 1 billion. A total of five boutique hotels, 300 shops and plenty of the famous movie scenes will be built within the film town.
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