Shanghai, October 27: Dustin Johnson of the United States lived up to his star billing when he stormed up the leaderboard with a sensational nine-under-par 63 to take the second round lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions on Friday.
Johnson showed why he is the world number one by delivering a putting masterclass where he made a total of 26 putts with a new putter at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
He birdied holes two and eight for an outward 34 but stamped his authority with an inward 29 that was highlighted by seven birdies and two pars for a two-day total of 13-under-par 131.
Overnight leader Brooks Koepka slipped to second place following a 68 while Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat was the highest placed Asian in equal third with Olympic Gold medalist Justin Rose of England on matching 135 total.
Malaysia’s Gavin Green, who started the day tied for second with Kiradech, struggled to find the fairways and hopes to give a better account of himself when the weekend rounds commence.
The Asian Tour Order of Merit leader is eight shots back of Johnson, bunched in tied-12 place which also includes Korean-American David Lipsky and Australia’s Scott Hend, ranked second and third respectively on the merit list.
Did you know?
- Dustin Johnson remains on course to become the first player in history to win three of the four World Golf Championships in a single season after claiming the WGC-Mexico Championship and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
- Johnson’s 63 matches the lowest second round in the history of the WGC-HSBC Champions.
- Johnson’s two-day total of 131 is one shot shy of the tournament 36-hole record of 130 set by Kevin Kisner in 2015.
- Brooks Koepka is making his second appearance at the WGC-HSBC Champions. He finished tied-40 last year.
- Koepka’s best WGC outing to date is a tied-fifth finish at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play earlier this year where he lost to Jason Day in the quarter-finals.
- Kiradech Aphibarnrat’s best finish at a World Golf Championships was his tied-18th result at the 2016 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
- Kiradech won the Asian Tour Order of Merit title in 2013 and finished tied-second at the Italian Open a fortnight ago.
“I have no problem breaking Dustin’s heart. I can promise you that.” – Brooks Koepka
Dustin Johnson (Usa) Second round 63 (-9), Total 131 (-13)
I played very well today. I actually got a putter like about 20 minutes before I teed off, it’s a Spider, so it’s one that I’ve used before. I wasn’t really pleased with the one I played with yesterday, so the guys here in China made me one. I got it right before I walked to the tee. I hit a few putts on the practise green with it and I was like, oh, this will work pretty well. Went out and holed a lot of putts today, so kind of like it. This is a golf course that I enjoy playing. It suits my eye very well. For me, if I drive it good out here, I feel like I can make a lot of birdies. I can reach all the par fives if I drive it in the fairway. You know, so those are where I’ve got to attack those. It’s always important to get a win no matter what time of year it is. For me, it’s kind of the end of the year but it’s also the start of the 2018 season. It would be really nice to get off to a good start.
Brooks Koepka (Usa) Second 68 (-4), Total 132 (-12)
I felt like I played pretty well. I felt like I drove it really well. That’s what you’ve got to do out here to hit the fairways. Then, you know, a couple of the putts, we missed some short ones, but to be honest with you, I felt like I hit them where I wanted to. I think I misread maybe two of them, especially the one at the last. It kind of changed at the last second over the ball. But you know, that’s going to happen over the course of 72 holes. I think it’s the first time, ever, we’ve actually played golf together. He (Johnson) thinks we played a few days at the Floridian, maybe a couple holes with Claude or something like that. But no, that’s the first time we’ve ever actually teed it up. In professional golf, it’s kind of unique and weird in a way, because you have to take every opportunity to go against everybody, so everybody is your enemy, but on the other hand, when you participate on the TOUR, you have to be friends and you have to know friends. So now, being able to go into the leading group with one of your good friends, Dustin Johnson, tomorrow, and thinking about if you have to win, you might have to break his heart. I have no problem breaking Dustin’s heart. I can promise you that. I’m sure he’d say the same thing if he was sitting up here.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) Second round 70 (-2), Total 135 (-9)
It’s not a bad day. I still managed to pick up a two-under par score today. I didn’t hit the ball as good as yesterday. My putter doesn’t go well as yesterday, especially the three-putt on the last hole which is quite disappointing. It’s not the way to finish the round. That double-bogey (on 12) came from chipping again. But it’s a good comeback. I made three birdies after that but just one dropped shot at the end. There was a little bit of wind and the pin position were tougher than yesterday. I’m playing well at the moment. I can set the goal a little higher than I used to do. I just need to focus on my ball-striking.
Gavin Green (Mas) Second round 74 (+2), Total 139 (-5)
The last two days, I struggled to hit the fairways today, which led to very difficult second shots out of the rough, and it’s tough to control. I came back with a couple of birdies. I grinded hard. I really tried to stay so patient towards the end just because it’s a tough golf course, and nobody’s really scoring. I stayed patient throughout the whole day, and really just tried to give myself many looks. It has been a great three weeks and hopefully I can finish it off strongly. I’m just going out there to play my best, and as long as I can get two more under par rounds, that’s my target for the next two days.
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About HSBC Golf Sponsorships
HSBC’s global commitment to golf encompasses all levels of the game, from grassroots to elite.
HSBC is a proud patron of The Open Championship and this partnership with The R&A creates a centre of gravity to a global golf portfolio that spans HSBC’s key markets. In Asia, HSBC has spearheaded the arrival of world class golf events with its flagship WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. The $9.75m WGC-HSBC Champions is renowned as ‘Asia’s Major’ and has made such an impact, that Rory McIlroy describes China as “an unstoppable force in world golf.” HSBC has been co-title sponsor of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship since 2010 and the event has quickly become one of the biggest events on the European PGA Tour.
However, underpinning those international flagship events is a longer-term ambition to create a legacy from HSBC’s global tournaments through its sponsorship of youth development and grassroots programmes. In China, HSBC supports the HSBC China Junior Golf Program, a sustainable long-term structure and framework upon which the future of Chinese golf is being built. In Hong Kong, HSBC supports the HSBC Hong Kong Junior Golf Programme, a structured pathway for children to try the sport for the first time, develop their skills and, for those talented enough, the chance to represent Hong Kong on the international stage. In the UK, HSBC is sponsor of HSBC Golf Roots – The Golf Foundation’s national development programme, which promotes the sport in schools, helps youngsters into clubs and uses golf to promote important life skills.
For more details on HSBC’s golf activities, visit www.hsbcgolf.com.
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About the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
In 2017, the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions will be the first of four World Golf Championships events sanctioned and organized by the International Federation of PGA Tours on the PGA TOUR schedule. The other World Golf Championships include the Mexico Championship (Mexico City), the Bridgestone Invitational (Akron, Ohio) and the Dell Match Play (Austin, Texas).
About Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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