Hard-bitten Lynn survives the cut

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England's David Lynn grabbed a one-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the Volvo China Open, despite fearing a painful boil on his groin would cause him to withdraw.

The 32-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent put himself in title contention with a superb five-under-par 67, which followed his encouraging 68 in the opening round at the Honghua International Golf Club.

"It was quite steady play and I made quite a few putts. I'd rather be leading than chasing. I will try to keep it going tomorrow," said Lynn, who developed a boil suspected to be a mosquito bite last Friday.

"It's funny really because I was wondering whether I was going to play. I have a little bite on my groin and it has been festering since last Friday and it became quite large and quite painful.

"I saw the doctor on Monday and it got quite bad on Wednesday and Thursday. I couldn't really line up my putt."

Lynn, who is now nine under for the tournament, had his boil surgically removed and added: "It's quite a large hole now and it needs dressing. It must be a mosquito .125bite.375. It takes your mind off golf."

Lynn is a shot ahead of a three-man chasing pack including Portugal's Jose Filipe Lima, Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng and Zimbabwe's Marc Cayeux as low scores were the order of the day in near-perfect conditions at the Nick Faldo-designed course.

Overnight leader Christian Cevaer of France slipped down the ladder after carding a 72, but was still in the title hunt. Cevaer was three shots off the pace on six under thanks to his opening round of 66.

Lynn, who won the 2004 KLM Open in Holland, was the star of the day as he collected nine birdies. He also had three bogeys, including a double bogey on the 18th hole that marred an otherwise excellent round.

Lima followed up on his opening-round 67 with another consistent display. He shared second place with Marksaeng, who shot a five-under-par 67 and Cayeux, who fired a superb 65 to stay within touching distance of Lynn.

Portuguese youngster Lima birdied four holes with his only blemish of the day coming on the third for his sole bogey.

The 24-year-old Versailles-born Lima, who secured his card this year by finishing third at the Estoril Open de Portugal, hopes to continue the good work.

"The course is not very easy. My game was very consistent today as it was yesterday. My driving was perfect and my putting was good. I tried to continue playing like that," he said.

"I know my game is good and it's very solid. After tomorrow, I don't know what will happen. We'll see how it goes.

"The course design is beautiful and at first I thought the greens were not very good. But today it wasn't so bad. Everything came together and I like coming to China."

Cayeux, the 28-year-old Zimbabwean who is still looking for his maiden win on the European Tour, was extremely pleased with his second-round score.

"I'm very happy to be eight-under so far in the tournament," said Cayeux, who fired eight birdies in a sterling round. "The temperature was hot and everything else was hot today."

Cayeux, however, does not believe there are many prospects for golf in his native Zimbabwe.

"Golf is going down in my country. The Zimbabwean dollar keeps going down and it's depressing to go home. It's hard to see any up-and-coming golfers the way it's gone," he added.

Swedish star Henrik Stenson collected eight birdies, but undid most of the good work when he suffered a quadruple bogey on the sixth when he had two balls in the water.

Stenson, the highest ranked golfer at 13th in the world, carded a one-over-par 73 on his opening round but added a 68 to lie six shots off the pace.

Defending champion Paul Casey also returned a 68 to haul himself back into title contention.

The Englishman, hoping to become the China Open's first back-to-back winner, found his rhythm as he improved on Thursday's round of 71 to put himself four shots off the lead.

The best round of the day came from big-hitting South African Nico van Rensburg, who fired an eight-under-par 64 for a five-under total. He lies four shots off the pace.