McIlroy and Spieth set low targets to get back in hunt
Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth need to become weekend warriors in a hurry if they are to mount a back-nine challenge for first prize in the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International GC in Shanghai tomorrow.
The two biggest stars in this no-cut, elite field comprising 78 of the top players in the world have been suffering, partly from self-inflicted wounds.
In McIlroy's case, his performance over the first two days was hindered by a severe bout of food poisoning but beyond that, both he and Spieth were below par in terms of focus and concentration.
Spieth confessed that he had been 'lazy' at times on Friday, and McIlroy showed signs of temper as well as rushing a putt on the 16th where he failed to mark the ball and give it his full attention.
His 72, level-par, for four-under par overall, left him trailing the leader Kevin Kisner of the USA, by ten shots.
Kisner had to play through back pain, but did not let that deflect him from reaching 14-under for the 36-hole lead.
Spieth emulated McIlroy in scoring 68, 72 for four-under par.
The quality of these two is matched only by their determination to push on and forget the early part of this tournament.
"I wouldn't say I'm 100 per cent, but I'm getting there," said McIlroy, who still feels there is a low round waiting for him on this course.
"There definitely is. You take advantage of the par fives and a few of the other sort of gettable holes; I've shot 63 around here before.
"There's no reason why I can't go out and shoot a score like that over the weekend and get myself somewhat back in the tournament."
Spieth, whose caddie and former school teacher Michael Greller won the 'Caddie of the Year' award, commented: "I lost a lot of focus. I felt like I wasn't zeroing in. I felt like I was very lazy in my routine, very lazy in picking targets."
Shane Lowry has struggled and went into the weekend on five over par.
WGC-HSBC Champions, Live, Sky Sports 4, 3.00am
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