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Louis Soars to Five-Stroke Edge in China


After opening with a 7-under 65 that gave him a share of the lead with Adam Scott in the WGC-HSBC Champions, Louis Oosthuizen really got rolling in Friday's second round.

The 30-year-old fired a 9-under 63 to reach 16-under 128, moving him five strokes clear of the Aussie in the $7 million event being held on the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills Golf Club in Guangdong, China.

Scott posted a 68 and now shares second at 133 with Ernie Els, who also shot a 63 to tie his South African countryman for the day's low score.

Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion who came close to another major title in this year's Masters before losing to Bubba Watson on the second sudden-death playoff hole, carded eight birdies, an eagle on the par-5 seventh and a bogey, the latter of which came on his second hole of the day.

The diminutive player with the superb, powerful swing told reporters after his 63 that he was in golf's fabled and rare "zone." "You get those days where if you hit it well, you leave yourself in a decent spot for a chip-and-putt for a birdie on the par-5s," he said. "I think I can reach all of them, which, you know, makes it easy."

Yet Oosthuizen knows that two rounds under his belt represent only the midway point to a possible victory in China, which would net him $1.2 million. "I've just been playing really, really solid to shoot low numbers," he said. "I'm in a great position to win it, but (a win has) not even crossed my mind at the moment."

Scott kept pace early with Oosthuizen after posting four birdies on the front nine. But then the 32-year-old got a bit erratic on the inward half with three birdies and a like number of bogeys. Still, Scott believes he's not out of the equation with 36 holes to go. "Five shots is just a couple of holes to get back," Scott said. "There are eagle chances and there's also a lot of trouble, so it can all turn around quickly."

Sharing fourth at 134 are Shane Lowry (68) and Jason Dufner (66), while another stroke back are Phil Mickelson (69) and Dustin Johnson (68). Mickelson began the day only a stroke off the lead of Oosthuizen and Scott's, but on Friday couldn't get his game on a steady plane.

The two-time winner of the tournament had three birdies, two eagles - both on par-5s, a pair of bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-4 18th. On the closing hole his tee shot just missed a lake and ended up in rough on a steep slope. From an awkward stance, "Lefty" missed the ball completely with his first attempt before hitting the green and missing a 10-foot bogey putt.

"It's disappointing finishing with a double, but I played pretty well for the most part throughout the first 12, 13 holes," he said. "I just played a little sloppy coming in."

Tied for eighth at 136 are Scott Piercy (68), Thorbjorn Olesen (65), Bill Haas (67) and Luke Donald (68).

After opening with 66s like Mickelson and Lowry, both Peter Hanson and Bubba Watson fell down the leaderboard after the second round. Hanson, the winner of last week's BMW Masters in Shanghai - posted a 71, while Watson - playing in China for the first time - had a 72.

For all the scores, visit http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/leaderboards/current/r489/index.html.