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Scott crashes out of China golf contention

AAP logoAAP 28/10/2016 Phil Casey

Australian golfer Adam Scott is out of contention at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai after shooting a disastrous eight-over-par 80 in Friday's second round.

The former world No.1 had been reasonably placed after an opening-round three-under 69.

Scott is five-over-par on 149 at the halfway mark in a four-way tie in 61st place and a whopping 18 strokes off the lead.

The best-placed Australian is Scott Hend on 144 after two even-par rounds.

Rory McIlroy, despite a marked improvement on day two, still faces an uphill battle to claim a fourth win of the year in Shanghai.

McIlroy managed just two birdies in an opening 71 at Sheshan International on Thursday to trail overnight leader Rikard Karlberg by seven shots.

Although the four-time major winner carded seven birdies in a six-under second-round 66, he only reduced his deficit by one shot due to a brilliant 65 from Japan's Hideki Matsuyama.

Matsuyama, who is a career-high 10th in the world, had 10 birdies and four bogeys in an opening 66 and added four more birdies and two bogeys in a front nine of 34.

The 24-year-old then started the back nine with a hat-trick of birdies and picked up further shots on the 14th and 18th to finish 13-under-par, three shots ahead of American Bill Haas and defending champion Russell Knox.

Haas carded a second consecutive 67 while Scotland's Knox, looking to become only the second player after Tiger Woods to successfully defend a WGC event, was 10 under overall to share second with Haas.

Birdies on the second, fifth and seventh took McIlroy to the turn in 33 and the world No.3 picked up further shots on 11, 13 and 14 despite windy conditions.

The 27-year-old drove into a water hazard on the short par-4 16th and, after pondering attempting a risky recovery shot, was forced to take a penalty drop which led to a first bogey of the round. He made amends with a birdie on the last.

McIlroy is chasing the victory he feels he needs to have a chance of winning the Race to Dubai for the third year running.

The four-time major winner is more than a million points behind Masters champion Danny Willett, who has a lead of 400,000 points over Open champion Henrik Stenson.

Stenson was four-under 140 after his second round, while Willett was eight over on 152.

McIlroy told Sky Sports 4: "I felt like I hit the ball very similar the first two days. I was just able to capitalise on some of the good drives that I hit today and being able to hole a few more putts makes a big difference at the end of the day.

"I've been able to come back from six behind with 18 to play so, over 36 holes, a lot of things can happen.

"Hideki's playing very well and will be tough to catch but, from what I saw out there today, if I can keep that sort of golf going over the next two days, I should have a chance."

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