American Tony Finau claimed a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the WGC-HSBC Champions, where defending champion Justin Rose is part of a star-studded chasing pack.
Finau added a second round of 67 to his opening 66 at Sheshan International to finish 11 under par, with Rose on eight under alongside his Ryder Cup team-mate Tommy Fleetwood and Masters champion Patrick Reed. Rory McIlroy hit a 77 which included a triple-bogey eight on the second.
Rose, who is looking to become only the second player after Tiger Woods to successfully defend a World Golf Championships event, carded five birdies in a flawless 67, while Fleetwood returned a 68 and overnight leader Reed had to settle for a 72.
Finau recorded eight birdies, one bogey and an unfortunate double bogey on the 11th, where his approach bounced off a sprinkler head and careered over the green.
“I’m really pleased,” the American Ryder Cup player said. “I played nicely and was happy with the way I finished. I was pleased to make a few birdies coming down the stretch.
Rose, who can return to the top of the world rankings with a tie for second or better, recovered from eight shots behind with just 18 holes to play 12 months ago, sparking a remarkable run of form which yielded a total of four wins, 14 top-10 finishes and a solitary missed cut in 25 events.
“It was a bogey-free round so that’s pretty tidy,” the FedEx Cup champion said. “Those rounds don’t often come, especially in breezy conditions.
“I kept it mentally sharp and I felt like towards the end of the round I was trying to whip myself and keep driving forward and making good decisions and good swings.”