Matsuyama rolling in birdies, leads by 3 at WGC-HSBC

Hideki Matsuyama continued to pour in birdies at Sheshan International Golf Club and grabbed the 36-hole lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions. Here’s how the second round played out in Shanghai, China:

Leaderboard: Matsuyama (-13), Russell Knox (-10), Bill Haas (-10), Daniel Berger (-8), Richard Bland (-8), Francesco Molinari (-8)

What it means: Matsuyama is looking to add a WGC title to his growing resume. He earned his maiden PGA Tour victory at the 2014 Memorial and then won last season’s (this year’s) Waste Management Phoenix Open. Thanks to his runner-up showing last week at the CIMB Classic, he is currently a career best 10th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

WGC-HSBC Champions: Articles, photos and videos

Round of the day: Matsuyama’s 65. It was the lowest score of a chilly second round and included nine birdies and two bogeys. Matsuyama has made 19 birdies through his first 36 holes. He shot 20 under in his second-place finish, in his last start, in Malaysia.

Best of the rest: Rory McIlroy shot 6-under 66 to move into a tie for seventh, at 7 under par. He’s six back. Haas had a 67 to grab a share of second place, alongside Knox. The defending champion had five birdies and one bogey over his first 12 holes on Friday, but parred in for a 68.

Biggest disappointment: Rickie Fowler. He started the day one off the lead, but bogeyed three of his first five holes en route to a 1-over 73. Fowler is now seven back and tied for 11th. Overnight leader Rikard Karlberg shot 75 and is currently T-13, eight in arrears. Some other less-than-notable scoring on Day 2: Adam Scott (80), Kevin Kisner (80), Jimmy Walker (79), Danny Willett (78). Scott’s round included a pair of double bogeys on par 5s and was his worst score on Tour since the 2011 Honda Classic (second-round 82).

Storyline entering the weekend: Can anyone keep pace with the Matsuyama birdie machine? He’s three clear of second place and only five players are within five shots. It could take a special effort to keep him for winning Tour title No. 3.

Quote of the day: “This felt like a cold day at Pebble Beach.” – Berger (70)

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