Kisner leads in Shanghai; Spieth, McIlroy 10 off pace

Fri Nov 6, 2015 4:32am EST
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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - American Kevin Kisner continued his birdie barrage to take a two-shot halfway lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions, where stronger winds in China on Friday contributed to a frustrating day for a rusty Jordan Spieth and poorly Rory McIlroy.

While Kisner fired a bogey-free six-under-par 66 for a 14-under total, world number two Spieth could only muster a level par 72 to sit on four-under alongside McIlroy, who was still feeling the after effects of a bout of food poisoning.

The Northern Irishman, who said he had lost 10 pounds (4.5 kgs) because of the ailment, struggled again with his short game as he mixed four bogeys with four birdies in his round of 72.

The world number three's frustrations boiled over with a rushed three-putt bogey on the 16th and he found water on the last with his approach but did well to get up and down for a par five.

"It wasn't a great day today. I need to shoot a really good score over the weekend to give myself a chance. Hopefully, I can go out tomorrow and shoot something a little better and feel a bit better," the four-times major winner said.

The 31-year-old Kisner, playing in China for the first time, had no such troubles as he followed up his opening 64 with another rash of red numbers at the Sheshan International Golf Course.

The South Carolina native was two clear of Scotland's Russell Knox, who managed a best-of-the day 65.

Kisner had been nursing a back ailment following the long flight but put himself in pole position for a first PGA Tour title after three painful playoff defeats this year.

"It's beyond my expectations," said the American world number 34. "I had no expectations coming in, so it's been good.   Continued...

Kevin Kisner of the U.S. tees off on the fifth hole during the second round of the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai, China, November 6, 2015. REUTERS/Aly Song