Johnson on fire in Shanghai


World number one Dustin Johnson surged into the lead of the WGC-HSBC Champions following a flawless second round on Friday.

The American signed for a sizzling nine under 63 around Sheshan Golf Club, the round of the day, to move him to 13 under for the tournament, one stroke ahead of first round leader Brooks Koepka who is alone in second.

Johnson began the day four shots off the pace and after just a couple gains on the front nine, it looked as though he would remain in the chasing pack. But the 16-time PGA Tour winner’s putter ran red hot on the back nine, as he holed seven birdies, including a run of four coming home.

Ironically, his putts were drained with a putter he picked up just 20 minutes before tee off, as Johnson explains…

"Obviously I played very well today but 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," said the 33-year-old.

"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 practice green with it and I was like, 'oh, this will work pretty well'. Went out and holed a lot of putts today, so I kind of like it.”

Koepka failed to capitalise on lead, getting through a quiet round with four birdies and a string of pars. 

Four shots off the lead at the halfway stage is Thai hopeful Kiradech Aphibarnrat – who was set back by a double bogey on the 12th – who is tied for third with Justin Rose on nine under. 

Further down the leaderboard is Patrick Reed in solo fifth on eight under while defending champion and Asian hopeful Hideki Matsuyama is wallowing in the mire after a second consecutive 74, putting him 17 shots off the pace.