Xue-Wen Luo has been in the United States only two months. While he’s still learning English, he let his golf do his talking Wednesday.
Luo, who is from China, carded 4-under-par 66 to climb to the top of the leaderboard through two rounds of the AJGA’s E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf at Jones Creek Golf Club.
Luo leads with a 6-under 138 total. He enters today’s final round with a two-shot advantage over S.M. Lee (73) and Gabriel Lench (67).
Chase Ibbotson (72) is three shots back in fourth, while Jake DeZoort (70) is in fifth, four off the pace. Tyler Barker, of Evans, shot 71 and is the low local golfer at 145.
“I played very stable today,” Luo said through a translator. “It feels good. Maybe it was because I was lucky.”
In the girls event, Natalie Srinivasan rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on her final hole to take a one-shot lead into today. Srinivasan, of Spartanburg, S.C., shot 73 for a 145 total. Carly Burkhardt, of Greenville, S.C., posted 74 and is alone in second, while Harmanprit Kaur (71), of Lawrenceville, Ga., is three shots off the lead.
Srinivasan is playing this event for the third time. After finishing fourth last year, she’s hopeful this year proves to be the proverbial charm.
“I’ve learned the course pretty well and how the greens work,” she said. “I’ve been able to know where to put the ball. That’s been helpful.”
Burkhardt and Srinivasan live about 25 minutes away from each other in the Upstate. They’ve played golf together for five years and have become good friends. Each player said familiarity with each other will help today.
Luo has several friends with him at Jones Creek. He’s among a contingent of about 10 players from the International Junior Golf Academy on Hilton Head Island competing this week.
“He’s a really good player,” Kyle Wolfe, IJGA director of player relations. “He hit the ball really well when I was watching him today. He hit a lot of good iron shots. He left a few shots out there, but he played really well.”