SHANGHAI (AP) - Adam Scott can join rare company with a second World Golf Championship. Keegan Bradley still has hopes of winning PGA Tour player of the year. Paul Casey thought his PGA Tour card was gone, and has a shot at getting it back.
The HSBC Champions, the semi-official end of the PGA Tour and the start of a big finish on the European Tour, offers a little bit of everything to so many players.
Scott, Bradley and Casey put themselves in contention Friday on a humid, overcast day at Sheshan International. They were chasing Fredrik Jacobson, who rattled off six birdies and kept mistakes off his card for a 6-under 66. Jacobson tied the tournament record at 11-under 133 and led by one shot over Scott and Louis Oosthuizen going into the weekend.
Jacobson, a Swede who lives and plays primarily in America, won his first PGA Tour title this year at the Travelers Championship and believes his game has improved to the point that he can think about getting on his first Ryder Cup team.
That's still 10 months away.
There are more immediate goals for others in Shanghai, and not just of the PGA Tour variety.
U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy still has the best chance of running down Luke Donald on the European Tour money list, though he might need to win the HSBC Champions and fare well in Hong Kong in three weeks to make a real game of it. McIlroy sputtered along Friday on a day of supreme scoring, trading birdies with too many bogeys for a 69 that left him six shots behind.
"I was just always trying to play catch up," McIlroy said. "I feel like over the past two days, I've left quite a few shots out there. It's one of those things. I just have to try and make them up over the weekend.
"I'll need to do something pretty good over the weekend if I want to try and win this tournament."
Scott was in much better shape after making nine birdies in his 18 holes and missing only one green in his round of 65.
As always, Scott feels as though he could have done more this year, though he wouldn't trade that one win at the Bridgestone Invitational. A win this week would allow him to join Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only players to win multiple World Golf Championships in the same year. Woods did it five times, while Mickelson won at Doral and the HSBC in 2009.
Scott led the way by running off four straight birdies early in his round, capped off by a 7-iron from 190 yards to 3 feet on the par-3 sixth. It looked as though he might make it five in a row until he tried to ram in a 12-foot birdie putt, only to run it some 5 feet by the hole and three-putted for bogey. He bounced back with two more birdies to close out his front nine and get into the hunt.