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Rory McIlroy well in contention after second round at Australian Open

The Northern Irishman wore a black ribbon as a mark of respect for Philip Hughes.

Rory McIlroy plays a shot from the rough on the 16th hole.
Rory McIlroy plays a shot from the rough on the 16th hole.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

RORY MCILROY IS poised to pounce at the Austrlalian Open after his second-round efforts.

The world number one McIlroy had a rollercoaster round containing an eagle, six birdies, six bogeys and just one par on the homeward nine holes, but is well placed at the halfway stage to defend his title. He lies in joint second.

Two-time winner Greg Chalmers sunk seven birdies on the way to the outright lead in Sydney.

The Australian left-hander, who won his national open in 1998 and 2011, swept to the front with two birdies in his final four holes at The Australian course to finish at five-under 66.

Dallas-based Chalmers, at five-under 137, held a one-shot lead over McIlroy, Australians Adam Crawford and Todd Sinnott and American Conrad Schindler heading into the weekend rounds.

Players sported black ribbons during Friday’s second round in respect for Test cricketer Phillip Hughes, who died Thursday after being knocked unconscious by a ball in a domestic game in Sydney this week.

McIlroy overhauled Scott with a birdie at the final hole to win last year’s tournament at Royal Sydney in what was his only 2013 tournament success.

“I felt like I had an opportunity today to shoot a good one and put a little bit of space between myself and the rest of the field, but it didn’t really turn out that way,” McIlroy said.

“A few too many mistakes and it was pretty tricky out there. Swirling quite a bit, which made it hard for club selection.

“I was happy with how I finished, I picked up shots in four of the last five holes and I’m still in a good position heading into tomorrow.”

  • Leading scores after the second round of the Australian Open at The Australian course (par-71) in Sydney on Friday (Australia unless stated):

137 – Greg Chalmers 71-66

138 – Rory McIlroy (IRE) 69-69, Adam Crawford 69-69, Todd Sinnott 71-67, Conrad Shindler (USA) 70-68

139 – Jordan Spieth (USA) 67-72, Geoff Drakeford 69-70, Brett Rumford 70-69

140 – Robert Allenby 71-69, Rod Pampling 73-67, Jake Higginbottom 71-69, Adam Scott 74-66, Rhein Gibson 70-70, Richard Green 69-71

141 – Scott Gardiner 68-73, Matthew Griffin 72-69

142 – Jason Norris 73-69, David Bransdon 72-70, Nick Cullen 73-69, Jamie Lovemark (USA) 77-65, Lincoln Tighe 70-72, Matt Jager 72-70, Jin-ho Choi (KOR) 74-68, John Senden 73-69

143 – Stephen Dartnall 72-71, Aaron Townsend 73-70, Boo Weekley (USA) 72-71, Ashley Hall 73-70, Oliver Goss 71-72, Andrew Evans 75-68, Cameron Smith 73-70, Sung-Hoon Kang (KOR) 73-70, Josh Younger 71-72, Joon-woo Choi (KOR) 72-71, Bryden Macpherson 70-73, Aron Price 68-75, Rohan Blizard 70-73, Antonio Murdaca 70-73

Final cut was made at +4 (146), 76 players made the cut

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