Nov 1 (Reuters) - Matthew Fitzpatrick earned a one-stroke halfway lead over Rory McIlroy at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai on Friday while home hope and overnight leader Li Haotong slipped three shots off the pace.
Fitzpatrick, the world No. 27, showed a magic touch with the putter, capping his day with a 15-foot birdie at the last for a five-under-par 67 in the second round at Sheshan International.
The Englishman leads the way with an 11-under 133 total at the only World Golf Championships event held outside North America.
In hot pursuit, McIlroy reeled off four straight early birdies before his putter cooled off, though he had no trouble brushing in a three-foot eagle putt at the par-five 18th after a magnificent approach shot.
The Northern Irishman matched Fitzpatrick’s 67, while American defending champion Xander Schauffele (69), Australian Adam Scott (69) and South Korean Im Sung-jae (69) were two behind the leader.
Li, after an opening 64 on Thursday, managed only two birdies in a 72 that left him equal sixth. (Reporting by Andrew Both in Tokyo; Editing by Peter Rutherford )