The world No 282, in his second season on the European Tour, raced into a four-shot lead after posting the course record at the Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen with some blistering scoring. Levy, who has had only two top-ten finishes in 34 previous events, carded eight birdies and an eagle in a blemish-free round.
Among those hoping the leader won’t be able to maintain the fireworks in the final two rounds are Scottish trio Richie Ramsay, Scott Jamieson and Chris Doak. Maintaining his promising form since returning from an injury lay-off, Ramsay is tied for fifth on seven-under, having followed an opening 69 with a 68. Jamieson and Doak are also in the top ten at halfway after carding rounds of 68 to sit on five-under.
“It is a great round for me,” said Levy of his effort. “I played unbelievably – it’s the first time I have played like that. I played really well and made a lot of putts to make the lowest score of my career. I didn’t realise how good the score was to be honest because I was focused on playing shot by shot. I played the right strategy and I just have to try to do that over the next couple of days.” Levy began the day with a par at the par-four 18th to complete an opening round of 68 which was curtailed by bad light on Thursday. But he was quickly into his stride for round two and a 25-foot eagle putt at the ninth capped an outward half of 30 which included four birdies. He picked up further shots at the tenth, 12th, 14th and 17th to post 14 under for the tournament.
World No 303 Adrian Otaegui is one stroke behind after a 66, fellow Spaniard Alvaro Quiros third on nine under after a 68 and Levy’s compatriot Raphael Jacquelin one back following a 67.
England’s Ian Poulter looked to be mounting a challenge to the leader as he reached the 12th at six under for the tournament but then had a mini-meltdown which means he was almost not around for the weekend.
A double bogey at the 205-yard par three was bad but worse was to follow at the next with a triple-bogey eight after an incorrect drop cost him two shots. That left the Ryder Cup winner nearer the cut mark than the top of the leaderboard and another dropped shot at the 16th edged him closer to the exit door, only for a birdie at the par-five next to secure his place as he closed with a 74 to sit one under.
David Drysdale, with rounds of 70 and 71 for three-under, was the only other Scot to survive the cut.