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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 24 November 2020
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Thank birdies it's Friday as Rory McIlroy leads The Open way

The Northern Irishman dropped a shot on the first but bounced back in luminous style.

Rory McIlroy hit the turn, at Hoylake, two shots clear.
Rory McIlroy hit the turn, at Hoylake, two shots clear.
Image: Peter Byrne

Updated 19:30

RORY MCILROY RECORDED his second successive round of 66 to reach the mid-point of The Open Championship at an imposing -12. America’s Dustin Johnson is his nearest challenger on -8.

McIlroy his supporters a few early jitters before composing himself at The Open. The two-time Major winner bogeyed his first hole to drop back to a share of a lead he had held alone overnight.

McIlroy was seeking to allay any worries that his second round form could scupper another tilt at a Major trophy. Before he teed off at Royal Aberdeen, on Thursday, his second round average was a shade under 74.

He overshot the second green but got back down in two for a par to help settle early nerves. Further pars followed on three and four before he birdied the par five fifth. McIlroy followed that up with a superb iron approach on the par three sixth. He left himself with a six-foot putt for birdie and duly dispatched it.

He parred the next and picked up another shot on the eighth thanks to another nerveless approach and a confident putting stroke. The 25-year-old reached the turn at -8 but was not done yet. He picked up a birdie on the 10th, another par five, to move three shots clear of Francesco Molinari of Italy and Spain’s Sergio Garcia.

The best was yet to come, however, as McIlroy’s impressive iron play came to the fore over the closing holes. Excellent approaches gave him four birdie chances from within 10-feet. He dropped three of the four to sign off for a round of 66 that puts him in with a great chance of claiming his first Claret Jug.

Golf - The Open Championship 2014 - Day Two - Royal Liverpool Golf Club Shane Lowry endured a difficult day in the cross-winds at Hoylake. Source: David Davies

Shane Lowry had a disappointing round of 75 to drop back to -1 while Darren Clarke signed off for a two-round score of level par. Graeme McDowell’s strong back nine looks to have secured him weekend golf but Irish amateur Paul Dunne [+4] and Padraig Harrington [+8] look set to miss out on the weekend’s action.

Antrim golfer Michael Hoey withdrew from the event after seven holes of his second round. Tiger Woods is back on +2 after dropping five shots during a personally torrid afternoon in Hoylake.

– First published at 17:20

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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