'Flat' McIlroy stumbles while Kisner takes lead

SHANGHAI • Rory McIlroy struggled to a level-par 72 yesterday in the second round of golf's WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai to fall 10 shots behind leader Kevin Kisner.

The world No. 3 was not the only superstar to find scoring difficult as the wind got up at the 7,200-yard Sheshan International Golf Club.

His playing partners and fellow top-10 ranked players Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler carded 72 and 71 respectively.

"I didn't play very well," said the Northern Irishman. "I was just a bit flat out there. Hopefully I can shoot a couple of good scores over the weekend."

The scoreboard had been dominated by rounds in the 60s on Thursday but only 16 of the elite 78-man field managed to crack 70 on the second day.

"I've shot 63 around here before," said McIlroy, who admitted he still was not 100 per cent after a bout of food poisoning.

World No. 2 and double Major winner Jordan Spieth showed he was human in a year when he almost conquered all with three consecutive bogeys from the 11th.

It was his second-worst scoring run of the year after going bogey-bogey-double bogey on his first three holes in the PGA Tour's Barclays Championship in August.

A birdie four at the 18th gave some cheer to the 22-year-old, who finished with a 72 to stay at 140 for the tournament and in a 10-man tie for 27th beside McIlroy.

World No. 4 Bubba Watson lost ground with a 73, bogeying the 18th after finding the greenside lake and is a shot further back at 141.

Kisner followed up his opening day 64 with a 66 to lie on 130, remarkable scoring for the American that surprised even himself.

"It's beyond my expectations. So it's been good. I'm making a lot of putts and that's fun," he said.

US-based Scot Russell Knox stands alone in second place on 132 after a best-of-the-day 65 in his first World Golf Championships event.

Overnight leader Branden Grace found it hard to follow his stunning opening 63, managing only a 71 to fall four shots behind Kisner.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WGC-HSBC CHAMPIONS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2015, with the headline ''Flat' McIlroy stumbles while Kisner takes lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe