Johnson surges clear at WGC
Shanghai - Big-hitting Dustin Johnson shot six birdies in his first seven holes
Friday, while Rory McIlroy threw away three shots late on, on his way to
a course record nine-under 63 at $8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions in
Completing a sizzling front nine of 30, Johnson took just 33 more to get home to lead on 12-under par 132.
leader McIlroy of Northern Ireland was five shots back tied for second
after a level-par round that had promised much more.
24-year-old had threatened to repeat the heroics of his first day 65
when he had a hat-trick of birdies on the sixth, seventh and eighth.
But a bogey at 11 caused the self-doubts to creep back in and he dropped two more for a 72.
one of those things," he told reporters after, clearly frustrated. "I
hit a couple of bad shots... and I started to doubt myself sometimes.
Didn't hit a lot of quality shots on the back nine."
joined at seven under by two Americans, Boo Weekley (67) and Bubba
Watson (69) as the Stars and Stripes started to climb the leaderboard
dominated by European players on day one.
"I'm definitely happy
with where I'm at," said world number 23 Johnson afterwards, whose 63
tied the course record jointly held by McIlroy, Daisuke Maruyama, Ernie
Els (all in 2009) and Martin Kaymer (2011).
"I drove the ball
really, really well for two days and for me that's a big key," added
Johnson. "I hit a lot of good iron shots and though it's tough to get
close to these holes I made a lot of nice 10- to 15-footers."
who won the Masters in 2012, told AFP earlier this week that he thought
the course and greens would suit him on his first visit to Sheshan Golf
Club. He was as good as his word, shooting a second-round 69 to add to
his 68 the previous day.
He said he was surprised at how similar
it was to playing back home on his first visit to China. "You don't hear
a lot of English," he joked. "But it's about the same.
"Everything about the trip has been beautiful. Malaysia last week (CIMB Classic) and then here. It's perfect."
Weekley had one of the rounds of the day with a five-under 67 to tack on to his opening 70.
Unfortunately his post-round interview was more staccato than his golf and a little undiplomatic to his hosts.
Asked how he liked being in China, Weekley replied: "It don't matter. We're here."
had he seen anything of China apart from the hotel and the golf course?
"You said it exactly, hotel, golf course. I'm all right. I don't need
to see nothing."
Former US Open champions Graeme McDowell of
Northern Ireland is second in the Race to Dubai European Tour standings
with this and just two more events remaining.
He is intent on
closing the gap to leader Henrik Stenson and has shown a welcome return
to form after what he described as a "rusty" performance at last week's
BMW Masters in Shanghai after taking five weeks off to get married.
His second successive 69 Friday, playing alongside Johnson, took him to a share of fifth place on six under par.
"Yesterday was very solid. Today was a little untidier," he said after his round.
was kind of tough to focus with Dustin Johnson hitting it 350 yards
down the middle of every fairway. But I was happy that I hung in there.
Happy to shoot three-under."
Stenson has had a miserable week so
far. The Swede, who won the FedEx Cup in September, shot a four-over 76
and is six-over par for the tournament, languishing in 70th place in the
He needs a big improvement over the weekend as
nearest rivals McDowell, Justin Rose (five-under after two rounds) and
last week's big money winner Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (six-under) are
all in contention for the $1.4 million winner's cheque heading into the
weekend.Leading scores on Friday after the second round of the $8.5 million
World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions at Sheshan Golf Club, Shanghai
132 - Dustin Johnson (USA) 69-63
137 - Bubba Watson (USA) 68-69, Boo Weekley (USA) 70-67, Rory McIlroy 65-72
- Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 68-70, Sergio Garcia 70-68, Gonzalo
Fernandez-Castano (ESP) 67-71, Ernie Els (RSA) 69-69, Graeme McDowell
69-69, Ian Poulter 71-67
139 - Jeong Jin (KOR) 70-69, Liang
Wenchong (CHN) 72-67, Phil Mickelson (USA) 71-68, Justin Rose (ENG)
68-71, Keegan Bradley (USA) 71-68, Graham DeLaet (CAN) 71-68, Jordan
Spieth (USA) 68-71
140 - Billy Horschel (USA) 71-69, Louis
Oosthuizen (RSA) 70-70, Jason Dufner (USA) 73-67, Gaganjeet Bhullar
(IND) 69-71, Mark Brown (NZL) 72-68
141 - Luke Donald 70-71, Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 72-69, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 72-69, Jamie Donaldson (WAL) 67-74