Olympics-Golf-Schauffele roars to halfway lead before play abandoned


Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Golf - Men's Individual - Final - Round 2 - Kasumigaseki Country Club - Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan - July 30, 2021. Xander Schauffele of the United States in action. REUTERS/Toby Melville

KAWAGOE, Japan (Reuters) - Xander Schauffele shot a sparkling eight-under 63 at the Olympic golf on Friday as he put the United States in the gold medal position before the second round was abandoned for the day due to a late threat of lightning.

Schauffele is sharing the Games experience with his swing coach father Stefan, whose dreams of representing Germany in Olympic track and field were dashed nearly 40 years ago when he lost an eye in a car crash.

The 27-year-old Californian made his father proud as he roared home with three consecutive birdies, rolling in a 13-foot putt on the 18th at Kasumigaseki Country Club to pip Mexico's Carlos Ortiz for the outright lead with an 11-under total of 131.

Moments after Schauffele's putt, play was suspended and then abandoned for the day, leaving his group and five others still to complete their rounds.

It was the third such disruption for the tournament and the second for the day, with play suspended for more than two hours just before midday.

Local favourite Hideki Matsuyama was among those whose second rounds were left hanging but the Masters champion is well positioned going into the weekend.

Japan's first major winner, who has battled to recover after falling ill with COVID-19 earlier this month, was among four tied for third at eight-under for the tournament when his round was cut short on the 17th.

Former world number one Rory McIlroy is also in the mix after completing a round of 66 to stand a stroke further adrift in a group on seven-under with Ireland team mate Shane Lowry.

"The goal today was to sort of get back in touch," McIlroy told reporters. "I just wanted to get in contention going into the weekend and still feel I was part of the tournament."

British Open champion Collin Morikawa (70) and United States team mate Patrick Reed (71) have work to do over the weekend to threaten for medals.

The pair were in a group tied at three-under, eight strokes adrift of Schauffele.

(Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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