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Rory burns it up on day two in Abu Dhabi

McIlroy two shots off the lead as the HSBC Golf Championship heats up.

McIlroy: seven birdies made sure his round wasn't marred by an early double-bogey.
McIlroy: seven birdies made sure his round wasn't marred by an early double-bogey.
Image: Kamran Jebreili/AP/Press Association Images

RORY MCILROY BOUNCED back from a slow start to rocket up the leaderboard on day two of the HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi.

McIlroy finished with four birdies in his last six holes for a five-under-par round of 67, leaving him two shots off the lead going into the weekend.

It could have been even better for the world number six who had a double bogey after a bad drive on the sixth hole and then watched an eagle putt agonisingly stay out after reaching the par-five 18th in two.

“I got off to a slowish start but started to get things going,” McIlroy told EuropeanTour.com.

I just had one bad swing, a bad drive that led to the double bogey but apart from that I played really well. When I’m driving it well it makes it so much easier.

It could have been even better if that putt had dropped at the last but two or three behind at halfway is decent. I’m right in contention and that’s a great place to be in my first event of the year.

Scotland’s Craig Lee shares the lead with Rafael Cabrera-Bello on nine-under, a shot clear of England’s Danny Willet who in turn is one clear of McIlroy, Thomas Bjorn and Ricardo Gonzalez.

A late birdie brought Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley in for a level-par round of 72, five off the pace.

Michael Hoey (-4), Damien McGrane (-2), Gareth Maybin and Darren Clarke (both -1) will all be involved for the weekend.

But Padraig Harrington is set to miss the cut after he missed a 10-footer for birdie on the last, leaving him on one-over.

– First published 13.56

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Niall Kelly

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