Golf: Rory McIlroy shakes off rust as Hideki Matsuyama storms ahead in Shanghai

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy in action at the WGC-HSBC Champions Golf Tournament in Shanghai on Oct 28, 2016.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy in action at the WGC-HSBC Champions Golf Tournament in Shanghai on Oct 28, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

Shanghai (AFP) - Rory McIlroy shook off the rust and regained his putting mojo on Friday to climb into contention at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

He had just 26 putts en route to a seven-under 66 after taking 32 on the greens on Thursday, and moved to 137 for the tournament.

McIlroy's round was eclipsed by runaway leader Hideki Matsuyama who followed his opening 66 with a best-of-the-day 65 to open a three-shot advantage on 13-under par.

Japan's in-form Matsuyama put himself in pole position to the be the first man from the host continent to win "Asia's Major" since it became a WGC event in 2009 with a round that contained nine birdies.

Defending champion Russell Knox kept his hopes alive of becoming the first player to record back-to-back WGC-HSBC Champions wins with a 68 on Friday to share second place on 10-under with American Bill Haas (67).