McIlroy retains Hong Kong lead
Hong Kong - A battling performance from an under-the-weather Rory McIlroy saw him sharing the lead with Alvaro Quiros after the second round of the $2.75 million UBS Hong Kong Open on Friday.
The world number two was left to rue a bogey on the par-five last at the Hong Kong Golf Club as he ended play with a one-under 69, for a two-round seven-under par total, level with Quiros of Spain who shot the same score earlier in the day.
"Obviously it wasn't the way I wanted to finish," said the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland.
"I hit a few loose shots coming in. It's something I'll have to try and eliminate tomorrow if I want to try and lead this golf tournament going in to Sunday.
"I feel like I definitely could have shot a few better today. But you know, if that's my worst round of the week, it's not too bad."
McIlroy revealed after his round that he has also been struggling with his health this week, after spending three days on a saline drip during a recent holiday to the Maldives with his tennis playing girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, the world number one.
"I got sick for a few days so that sort of took a little bit of energy out of me," said McIlroy. "I think that is sort of a little bit still there. I mean my energy levels.
"It's the end of the season. I'm sure it's not just me that's feeling like this. I'm sure a lot of the guys are. It's been a long season and there's a couple of more weeks left before we get to enjoy Christmas."
Quiros, 28, had earlier powered through his opening nine holes, picking up three birdies along the way, but then stumbled with two bogies on his back-nine just when it looked as though he was going to put some breathing space between himself and the chasing pack.
"Without those two (bogies) it was a proper number. Nine-under would have been great," he said.
Quiros had begun the day tied at six-under with McIlroy and Englishman David Horsey, who struggled to a two-over 72 and dropped to four-under for the tournament.
Breathing a sigh of relief at the end of the day was three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, who needs a good finish to sneak his way into the Race to Dubai top-60 and qualify for next week's $7.5 million Dubai World Championship.
The Irishman finished the day on one-under after two rounds, inching in under the cut, and said he was happy with his solid if unspectacular round of one-over 71.
Joining him at the weekend will be American John Daly, who recovered from an opening-day four-over 74 to shoot two-under today.
A highlight of the morning's play was the five-under 65 shot by 18-year-old Asian Tour rookie Panupol "Coconut" Pittayarat, which saw the Thai youngster grab a share of second place at six-under with Richie Ramsay.
Panupol's round included an eagle on the par-five fifth, which he followed up with a birdie two on the next.
"My goal was to make the cut and I'm up here now. So I'll try to keep it up on the weekend and I'll try to finish well," he said.
For gorgeous gifts at gorgeous prices, click here for the ultimate Christmas gift guide from Clicks.
Read News24’s Comments Policy