U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy hit a blemish-free round of seven-under 65 to open a three-shot lead at the top in the $5 million Shanghai Masters on Saturday.
The Northern Irishman did exactly what he wanted on the Lake Malaren course in Shanghai, designed by Jack Nicklaus, to get within touching distance of the $2 million first prize in the event.
"I knew I had to play good golf today if I want to win the golf tournament. No bogeys and seven birdies, that's what you want to do when you are leading," the mop-haired McIlroy told reporters after his round.
"I set myself a target to get to 18 under today and that's what I did so I'm very happy with the outcome."
American Anthony Kim hit eight birdies but a bogey on the last hole meant a three-shot gap between him and McIlroy.
South Korea’s Noh Seung-yul was 14 under after a 67.
Ian Poulter (67) and Hunter Mahan (68) were 11 under, second-ranked Lee Westwood (70) and Geoff Ogilvy (66) were another stroke back, and Robert Karlsson (72), Padraig Harrington (73) and Y.E. Yang (68) were 6 under.
Louis Oosthuizen struggled in the overcast conditions, shooting a 76 to finish at 4 under. The 2010 British Open champion had a double bogey on the par-5 13th and made four bogeys.
All the top players are getting appearance money, and last place pays $25,000. Because the International Management Group-run event isn’t sanctioned by a major tour, it doesn’t have world-ranking points.
FIles from the Associated Press were used in this report