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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 18 December, 2018
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McIlroy moves to within a shot of the lead to tee up exciting weekend at the Irish Open

Marc Warren and Masters champion Danny Willett lead the way at the K Club.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

RORY MCILROY ROLLED in a big birdie putt at the last to remain firmly in the hunt for his first Irish Open title.

McIlroy closed to within a shot of leaders Marc Warren and Danny Willett with a solid 70 that moved him to seven-under par at the K Club.

mcilroy2 Source: European Tour

It could have been even better for the world number three who had birdie looks on each of his first three holes but couldn’t capitalise.

“It was a little bit erratic in places,” McIlroy told Sky Sports afterwards, “but I made (five) birdies so I gave myself plenty of chances.”

“70 is not a bad score.”

After making his move with a birdie three on the 13th, he came within inches of taking the outright lead on 16 before dropping back with the first of three bogeys on 17.

With Scotland’s Warren in the process of putting together the morning’s low round of 66, McIlroy kickstarted his chase with back-to-back birdies around the turn, including a 31-footer on the first.

mcilroy1 Source: European Tour

Two bogeys at the third and fifth slowed his challenge but his closing birdie leaves him within striking distance ahead of the weekend’s play.

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Niall Kelly

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