Feddie J: the world's greatest five-handicapper. Fred Beckham/AP/Press Association Images

Freddie Jacobson takes the lead in China

The Swede’s second-round 66 was enough to see him a shot clear of 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and former world number three Adam Scott at the HSCB Champions tournament in Shanghai.

FREDDIE JACOBSON PLAYED the PGA Tour for eight years before claiming his first victory. Now, a mere four months removed from that breakthrough– at June’s Traveler’s Championship– the Swede is hoping to add a second title to his Tour resume.

With a swing that wouldn’t look out of place at a local driving range– an ungainly, bobbing mass of limbs– Jacobson has always relied heavily on his short game to remain competitive. This week, however, recent improvements in his ball-striking have begun to pay dividends.

Jacobsen carded a 67 in the first round, two shy of the pace set by USPGA champion Keegan Bradley, and followed it up with a flawless 66 that included a stunning four-iron approach to the ninth green, the catalyst for a final, pace-setting birdie.

The next name on the leaderboard, a shot adrift of the Swede’s 11-under-par total, is that of 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen. The South African carded a bogey-free 63 on Friday, the lowest round of both his career and the tournament to date.

The major winner was typically calm in post-round interview with

“If you’re hitting good shots, you get rewarded,” Oosthuizen said. “There’s a few holes where you can take it on or lay it up. Today, I really didn’t take much risk. I just made the birdie putts.”

Oosthuizen’s second-round form evokes memories of his devastating form at St. Andrew’s a little over a year ago, but the rest of the leaderboard is not without pedigree.

Tied with the South African on 10-under-par is Austalia’s Adam Scott. The former world number three has, in the past, proven himself more than capable of competing and winning in Asia.

First-round leader Keegan Bradley lies a shot further back on nine-under.

Paul Casey, who competes this week in the hope of regaining his US Tour card; Martin Kaymer; Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell all lie within five shots of Jacobson’s lead.

The form of McDowell, in particular, comes as something of a surprise. The former US Open champion carded two successive rounds in the 80s during last week’s Andalcucia Masters at Valderrama and, after a much publicised bout of soul-searching, ventured to China in hope rather than expectation of an encouraging finish.

Rory McIlroy, who hoped to use this week’s event as a means of leap-frogging the absent Luke Donald on the European Tour Order of Merit, improved on his modest opening round to reach an aggregate total of five-under-par.

Dunhill Links Champion Michael Hoey sits in a tie for 59th.

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