SHANGHAI: World number one Rory McIlroy yesterday set himself up for a weekend assault on the US$7mil BMW Masters at Lake Malaren after a second round scintillating 65 took him to 12-under 132, two shots behind halfway leader Peter Hanson.
On a day of low scoring on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course in Shanghai, Sweden’s Hanson was one of three players to shoot an eight-under par round of 64 following Shane Lowry of Ireland and fellow Swede Robert Karlsson.
McIlroy had complained of headaches during his opening 67 on Thursday, which he put down to pollution. Yesterday, he had to battle the sound of fireworks, music and piledrivers around the course to get the job done.
“Fireworks? I thought they were gunshots going off there,” he laughed.
“You’re always going to have distractions out there, whether it is people with cameras or movement in the crowd.
“Once you’re over your shot, you’re sort of in your own little bubble and your zone and you don’t really notice those sort of things.”
One of the only resemblances of trouble for the double major winner came on the final hole where McIlroy’s tee shot found the right-hand rough. But it was in area trampled by spectators that gave him a good enough lie to put his approach to 10 feet and safely two-putt for par.
“It was very good day,” said McIlroy. “I played very well and gave myself plenty of opportunities. Overall it was just a very good round of golf and obviously (puts me) in a great position going into the weekend.”
A 64 must have been the last thing on Hanson’s mind when he opened his round yesterday with a bogey on the first hole.
“It’s amazing how many good rounds come after a bogey on the first,” he said.
“I got it straight back with a birdie on three. I think that’s pretty much the key to my two good rounds,” he added. — AFP