Henley shoots 67 to lead CJ Cup, McIlroy seven back

Golf: Xander Schauffele rides hot start to three-shot lead at halfway point of CJ Cup in Las Vegas

The CJ Cup: Russell Henley opens up three-shot lead in Las Vegas

Xander Schauffele hit six straight birdies en route to an excellent second round of 64 and built a three-shot lead midway through the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, Las Vegas.

'The last two weeks every swing that I've made, every ball that I've hit has been with at least two or three swing thoughts.

Heading into the weekend four strokes back, Henley followed a 10-foot par-save at the third by holing from a similar distance to birdie the next, before getting up and down from a greenside bunker to birdie the par-five seventh.

Only a bogey on 13 spoiled his charge - but some of his shots, such as the 136-yard approach at the par-4 10th hole, which landed just seven feet from the hole, were exquisite.

The tournament, typically part of the PGA Tour's Asian swing, was moved to the Las Vegas venue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and features a crowded field of top talent warming up for the Masters next month, including world number three Justin Thomas (68) and the reigning PGA Championship victor Collin Morikawa (71), who were five and six strokes back from the lead, respectively.

Russell Henley sits atop the leaderboard at the CJ Cup through three rounds of play.

"Got a little bit stale there on the other side".

McIlroy birdied four of his last five holes to join the group on eight under that also includes Bubba Watson, who carded a round-of-the-day 65, with Sebastian Munoz and Hideki Matsuyama also seven off the pace.

"It was nice. I had a chip-in there, two long putts".

Defending champion and two-time victor Justin Thomas is five strokes off the pace after rising two positions on the back of his four-under-par 68. Rahmbo needs, at least, to finish in second position to regain the world number one, so he has it really raw with a day to go.

The eighth-ranked Schauffele, from La Jolla and San Diego State, held a three-stroke lead after two rounds, but made only two birdies while struggling to a 74, while Griffin made a seven-foot eagle putt at No. 7 and five birdies in a 66, Kokrak sank a four-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 66, and Gooch had three birdies on the front nine in a 66. "Obviously I was disappointed with bogeys", he said. Hopefully I can keep it going.

Defending champion Justin Thomas, who won the event past year on Jeju Island, shot a 66 and was tied for eighth with four others at six-under 138.

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