Tony Finau shot a 5-under-par 67 to open up a three-stroke lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Sheshan, China on Friday.
Finau grabbed the lead over first-round leader Patrick Reed, defending champion Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood, who are in a three-way tie for second place at 8 under.
Finau has only one career win — the 2016 Puerto Rico Open at Cocoa Beach — but three of nine WGC-HSBC second-round leaders have gone on to win the event. For the second consecutive day, Finau needed only 26 putts.
He made eight birdies and survived a bizarre double bogey on 11. His approach landed on a sprinkler head and ricocheted into the water.
“That was about as bad a break as I’ve ever had, to kick all the way over the green into the hazard,” Finau said. “One thing I’ve learned in this game, you take the good with the bad and keep moving forward. I knew I was playing well still and still at the top of the leaderboard. Just keep plugging along and try to get that back and I was able to do that.”
“Outside of that tough break, I played really nicely,” Finau said. “I was happy just to make a few birdies coming down the stretch. It’s hard to swallow when you feel like you hit a good shot and you have a bad break like that. So I was able to just hang in there and make a few birdies at the end, which is nice.”
Reed dumps 3 in water
Reed, the youngest winner of a World Golf Championships event, found water hazards three times but scratched out a 72. He made three birdies and three bogeys.
He opened the tournament with a 64 on Thursday but hit only five fairways in the second round.
Rose, who putted only 21 times on Friday, is seeking to become the first repeat WGC champion. He rallied from an eight-shot deficit to win last year. Rose had one of two bogey-free rounds.
Xander Schauffele backed his opening-round 66 with a 71 and is alone in fifth place at 7 under.
Thomas Pieters, who shot a 64 to jump to seventh with a 139 total over 36 holes, had the low round on Friday. He recorded seven birdies, one eagle and a bogey. A three-time European Tour winner, he is chasing his first PGA Tour victory.
Rory McIlroy, saddled with a double bogey and a triple, shot 77, is 5 over and tied for 58th. He’s two behind Dustin Johnson, who is 3 over after going 74-73 in the first two rounds.
–Field Level Media