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Spectacular sandy sparks late turnaround for Schauffele in Shanghai

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Battling the fluĀ this week in Shanghai, Xander Schauffele appeared in danger on falling off the pace Saturday at the WGC-HSBC Champions before a furious finish put him in position to potentially defend his title Sunday.

Just 1 under on his round through 15 holes and 2 over through his lastĀ 12, Schauffele was stalled and appeared in danger of throwing away a birdie opportunity at the 288-yard, par-4 16th when his tee shot found the fairway bunker.

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But it was this approach from 98 yards that sparked a late turnaround.

He followed with a lengthy make at the par-3 17th and one more circle at the par-5 18th to finish birdie-birdie-birdie, sign for a 4-under 68, and position himself just two behind solo leader Rory McIlroy through 54 holes.

"It's been a long week," Schauffele said. "Strength is slowly coming back. Just give myself a chance and I'll be able to hold my head high if I do that."

The winner last year in a playoff over Tony Finau, Schauffele now looks to become the first player to successfully defend at the HSBC-Champions in its 14-year history.