SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell continued to revel on a tough course set-up as he extended his lead to three strokes over Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter after the second round of the $8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions tournament on Friday.
McDowell did not quite replicate his great ball-striking of the first day, but he did enough to gather five birdies for a five-under-par 67 at Sheshan Golf Club.
“I got lucky a couple of times today,” he said after posting a 10-under 134 halfway total, while Englishman Poulter also shot 67, storming home with four birdies in the final five holes to vault into second place on seven-under.
American Bubba Watson also carded 67, while Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata (65) had the best round of the day to join the American on six-under in tied third.
McDowell and Poulter, third and second here last year, both have an affinity for Sheshan.
McDowell said his short game and putting allowed him to avoid any bogeys and increase his lead.
“My putter is in good form and the greens are fantastic and when I did have opportunities, I managed to make some,” he said.
“It was not my best ball striking round but I hung in and I’m right where I want to be going into the weekend.
Poulter, last year’s runner-up, was in a jovial mood after his fast finish.
“It was probably the best I’ve played all year, which was very exciting,” he said.
“It was a little frustrating the first 13 holes that I was missing chances, but the chances started going in at the end and I’m very happy.”
World number two Adam Scott was not so happy after two consecutive disastrous holes in his second round of 72.
He reeled off four early birdies to move into second place, only to run up a quadruple bogey at the par-five eighth where he found two separate hazards, one with his tee shot and another adjacent to the green.
Things went from bad to worse when he found another hazard with his approach shot at the ninth.
“I hit it in water three times in two holes and had to try and move on and did the best I could,” the Australian said after fighting back to end the day eight strokes behind McDowell.
“I’m playing good enough to be leading the tournament. I’m playing great. I’ve just got to have a couple of good days and I’ll be right there on Sunday.”