McIlroy Roars Into HSBC Victory Take-Out Position

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy has muscled his way into position for a first WGC – HSBC Champions title sensationally eagling his closing hole in a second straight five-under par 67 and to be one off the lead with two rounds to play in Shanghai.

Mcllroy is clearly looking ominous also for a fourth victory this year in moving to 10-under and one behind England’s Matt Fizpatrick with scores of 66 and 67.

Three players – Aussie Adam Scott (69), American Xander Schauffele (69) and South Korean Sungjae Im (69) – share third place at nine-under par on the Sheshan International course.

McIlroy began slowly on Thursday in the $US 10.25m event to be level par through nine holes and has now playing his last 27 holes in 10-under par thanks to his 36th hole eagle along with 10 birdies and just two dropped shots.

McIlroy brought the Chinese crowd to their feet at the last in landing a soaring second shot, that first cleared the water guarding the final green, onto the putting surface and stopping just two-feet from the hole.

The Northern Irishman, and looking like a Sunday-dressed Tiger Woods in his red shirt, stepped-up and calmly rolled-in the eagle ‘3’ putt.

Earlier in the round, the 26-time pro career winner managed to pick off four birdies in a row from the third to the sixth hole, and when it seemed the Northern Irishman was heading for something very special he stalled to play his next 11 holes in one over until the eagle on 18

“The way I started, four under through six, I was thinking maybe shoot a better score than I shot yesterday, but you miss a couple fairways, miss a couple of greens and this course all of a sudden gets pretty tricky,” McIlroy said.

“It’s easy from the fairways, but I sort of veered off them a little bit around the middle of the round, but was able to get back on track. It was obviously nice to finish the way I did.”

Since winning a second FedExCup title, McIlroy played three times in Europe before opening his 2019-20 PGA Tour season in Japan last week where he managed to finish third. His last three worldwide starts had seen him average 72.6 in the opening rounds before fighting back for two top-10s.

“I’m delighted with the first two rounds,” he added.

“To put myself right in contention going into the weekend is something that I wanted to do. It’s something that I haven’t done a lot of over the last few weeks. I’ve sort of had bad starts and then clawed my way back into a good position at the end, but to be right in the tournament after two days, I’m excited.”

Fellow Irishman and fellow Open Champion, Shane Lowry continues to struggle in finding forward gears and dropping back into a share of 50th in the now 77-player field (Ian Poulter has withdrawn) with a pair of 72s.

Lowry’s second round was a mix of three birdies along with a bogey and a ninth hole double-bogey.

Though in the 2019 Race to Dubai picture, the Offlay golfer also trails one shot behind Austrian Bernd Wiesberger who heads the race to be crowned European No. 1.

Rory McIlroy and looking very much akin to Tiger Woods dressed in red on day two of the 2019 WGC- HSBC Champions …. Photo – PGA Tour.


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