Shanghai, China (SportsNetwork.com) - Julien Quesne posted a 5-under 67 on Friday to move one stroke clear of the field after two rounds of the China Open.
Quesne finished 36 holes at 8-under-par 136. He owns two European Tour titles, winning once in 2012 and again in 2013.
Defending champion Alexander Levy remained one stroke off the lead as he carded a 4-under 68. Levy was joined in second place at minus-7 by Peter Uihlein, who shot 67 in round two at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club.
Matteo Manassero, Hao-tong Li, Jerome Lando Casanova and last week's Shenzhen International winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat all carded rounds of 4-under 68. They were joined in fourth place at 5-under-par 139 by Ashun Wu (66) and Romain Wattel (67).
David Howell, Bradley Dredge and Michael Hendry shared the first-round lead. Howell managed an even-par 72 and fell into a share of 10th place at minus-4. Hendry tripped to a 1-over 73 to tumble to 3-under-par 141, while Dredge faltered to a 2-over 74 and dipped into a share of 15th at minus-2.
Quesne opened his round with a birdie at the par-5 second and moved to 5-under with a birdie at the fourth. After a pair of pars, he birdied the par-4 seventh.
The Frenchman made the turn at minus-7 after making birdie at the par-5 ninth, then parred the first three holes around the turn. For the second straight day, he dropped in back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 to move into the lead at minus-9.
Quesne parred the next two holes before tripping to a bogey at the par-3 17th. He closed with a par at the last.
"I played much better today, so that was the main reason for my good score. I felt very comfortable and hardly missed any shots, so it was a very good day all round," said Quesne, who tied for fourth last week in Shenzhen. "My performance last week definitely helps build the confidence, so I felt good at the start of the week and I'm still feeling good now, but there's a long way to go."
Levy had three birdies on the front nine to climb to 6-under, then poured in three straight birdies from the 11th to soar into the lead. He faltered to a double-bogey on the 16th after finding a fairway bunker off the tee and dumping his approach in the water.
The reigning champion bogeyed No. 17 for the second day in a row to slip to minus-6, but bounced back with a birdie at the last to end one back.
Uihlein, who also tied for fourth last week, got off to a quick start with birdies at one and two. He ran off five straight pars from the third.
The American birdied the eighth and ninth en route to making the turn at minus-6, but stumbled to a bogey at the 10th before getting that stroke back with a birdie on the par-3 12th.
Uihlein dropped another stroke at the 16th and closed with an eagle at the par-5 18th to get within one of the lead.
NOTES: Quesne owns the second-round lead for the second time in his European Tour career ... Felipe Aguilar rebounded from an opening 80 with a bogey-free, 7-under 65 and made the cut by one stroke ... The cut line fell at 2-over 144 with 67 players advancing to the weekend ... Among those that missed the cut were Nicolas Colsaerts, Alvaro Quiros, Alejandro Canizares and Tommy Fleetwood, who was the highest-ranked player in the field at world No. 55.