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Dublin: 1°C Friday 7 May 2021

McIlroy closes with an eagle and sits within a shot of the lead in Shanghai

Shane Lowry, meanwhile, carded another par round.

Image: Ng Han Guan

A BRILLIANT APPROACH shot on the 538-yard 18th hole at Sheshan International Golf Club left Rory McIlroy with an eagle putt to move to -10 and withing a shot of leader Matthew Fitzpatrick.

McIlroy will enter the second half of the WGC HSBC Champions tournament in fine form after back-to-back 67s, today’s marked by four straight birdies from the third to sixth hole.

The first of his two bogeys ensured he made the turn at -3. He was more relieved to claim his second when it came after a horrible drive to the woods left of 16 and he made sure to finish on a high with a superb drive off the 18th tee followed up with this.

Overnight leader Li Haotong fell away on day two, the home favourite went around in par and was overtaken by the chasing pack. Two shots back at close of play yesterday, Fitzpatrick took his place atop the leaderboard thanks to a bogey-free round of 67 topped with a birdie-birdie finish.

Defending champion Xander Chauffele is in a share of third on -9 with Adam Scott and Sungjae Im.

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Shane Lowry remains stuck on level par despite opening with back-to-back birdies on day two. A double-bogey before the turn erased his red numbers and he maintained a steady run of nine pars to finish.

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Sean Farrell

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