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Frustration for Rory McIlroy but Paul Dunne is well in contention at Alfred Dunhill Links

The Wicklow native is just two shots off the lead heading into the weekend.

Image: Jane Barlow

Updated 12.24

ENGLAND’S TOMMY FLEETWOOD set a new Carnoustie course record to move into a share of the halfway lead at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland on Friday, as Rory McIlroy struggled in his final tournament of the season.

Race to Dubai leader Fleetwood, 26, produced a bogey-free nine-under par 63 to lower the previous best by one shot on the course that will play host to next year’s Open Championship.

The effort, in bright but very cold conditions, saw the new father join compatriot and defending champion Tyrrell Hatton in the lead at 11-under par.

Hatton also played his second round at Carnoustie and fired a 65.

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Fleetwood’s 63 bettered the 64s carded by 10 other golfers, including Sweden’s Alex Noren last year.

Fleetwood has played just one event in the past seven weeks after taking time off to be with his fiancee ahead of the birth of their first child early last week.

Hatton is seeking to become the first player in the 16-year history of the event to successfully defend the title.

The 25-year-old holed three birdies in succession from the sixth hole and then birdied four of his closing six holes.

Four-time major winner McIlroy birdied his final hole at Carnoustie in a round of 71 to get back to level par, but is still three strokes shy of the projected mark for the 54-hole.

McIlroy spoilt what is set to be his last round of the year by taking a sixth-hole triple-bogey seven.

The world number six is set to finish the season without a win for the first time since 2008, having not claimed a title since the 2016 Tour Championship.

Meanwhile, circumstances were a lot different for Paul Dunne.

He carded a four-under par 68 to take him to nine-under for the championship and a share of fourth place with Marcel Siem.

– An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the tournament cut takes place after 36 holes; it is after 54 holes.

© AFP 2017

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