By PGATOUR.COM staff
Rory McIlroy birdied holes 6-8 at Sheshan International to become the first player this week to reach 10 under and looked like he was ready to cruise to a comfortable 54-hole advantage.
Then the bogeys hit. First on No. 11. Then No. 15. Then on the par-5 18th when an aggressive second shot from a sidehill lie splashed in the water short of the green and led to a third bogey.
McIlroy finished the round at even par and in the same 7-under position in which he opened the round.
"Disappointing, frustrating," he said. "Obviously played nicely the front nine and then started to hit a lot of sloppy shots on the back. Missed the last six greens in a row. Missed seven greens on the back nine, so a bit of work needed on the range this afternoon."
While he was dropping shots on the back nine, McIlroy wasn't falling far down the leaderboard. He left the course in a second-place tie with Bubba Watson and Boo Weekley, behind only leader Dustin Johnson.
"It would have been nice to play a bit better and start tomorrow with a few more shots in hand but I guess I'm in a decent position going into the weekend, and still have a great chance at winning this tournament," McIlroy said.
A victory in this tournament would be McIlroy's first on TOUR since 2012 when he won the PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship in the span of five weeks.