McIlroy holds onto lead at Shanghai Masters

US Open champion Rory McIlroy shot a 3-under 69 to take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Shanghai Masters invitational golf tournament on Friday.

After a bogey-free opening round on Thursday, McIlroy struggled on the front nine on the second day, bogeying the fourth hole before conceding a double bogey on the difficult, par-4 ninth to drop back into a four-way share of the lead.

The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland recovered with four birdies on the back nine to finish at 11-under 133 — two strokes ahead of Noh Seung-yul of South Korea.

Noh (20) made the biggest move of the day, sinking nine birdies for a 63 — the lowest round of the tournament so far – and vaulting from joint 18th place to second. He birdied three of his last four holes to finish off the round.

Noh, ranked 95th in the world, got his biggest victory to date at the Malaysian Open last year, where he became the second-youngest winner in European Tour history. He is also a former Asian Tour rookie of the year.

Anthony Kim of the United States (68) and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa (66) were a stroke behind Noh at 8-under, followed by Padraig Harrington of Ireland (70) and Hunter Mahan of the United States (72).

Mahan, who was in second place after the opening round, also had trouble on the front nine on Friday, bogeying twice and holing just one birdie. He was at 1-under for the day until bogeying the 18th hole to finish at even par.

Ian Poulter (71) and Robert Karlsson (69) were 6 under, and John Daly followed his opening 69 with a 70 to match Lee Westwood (70), Colin Montgomerie (69) and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (69) at 5 under.

There are 30 players, including 10 major winners, vying for the $2-million first prize, the richest in golf. The International Management Group-run event, being held for the first year, is not sanctioned by a major tour and does not have world-ranking points. — Sapa-AP

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