Shanghai: World No. 2 Rory McIlroy closed his day with a crucial eagle to cap a see-saw round and move to within one shot of the halfway lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai on Friday.
Coming off his strongest season in years, McIlroy matched his opening-round five-under-par 67 to get to 10 under par, a stroke behind leader Matthew Fitzpatrick of England.
Although he did not win a major this year, the Northern Irishman’s consistently strong play saw him take home the 2019 FedEx Cup and the PGA Tour Player of the Year award.
He said earlier this week in Shanghai that his success this past season had motivated him to recapture golf’s top ranking — now held by American Brooks Koepka — which McIlroy hasn’t occupied in four years.
“Delighted with the first two rounds,” McIlroy said at Sheshan International Golf Club.
“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.”
Defending champion Xander Schauffele continued to battle through a bad flu to keep alive hope of becoming the event’s first back-to-back winner.
The American was in a three-way tie with South Korea’s Im Sung-jae and Australian Adam Scott at -9.