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Still going strong

Wayward finish costs McIlroy outright lead

After setting the pace, Rory McIlroy finished with two late bogies to drop back alongside Alvaro Quiros at the Hong Kong Open.

RORY MCILROY REMAINS on top of the leaderboard after day two of the Hong Kong Open, though he may come to regret a late lapse in concentration this morning.

The world number two followed yesterday’s excellent 64 with a one-under round of 69 in Fanling, moving him to seven-under par where he shares the halfway lead with Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

With Quiros among the day’s early starters safely in the clubhouse, McIlroy had a chance to seize the outright lead for himself coming down the final stretch.

But wayward drives on 16, 17 and 18 cost him his place at the summit as he carded two bogeys in the final three holes.

“Obviously it wasn’t the way I wanted to finish,” McIlroy said afterwards.

“I got myself into a good position, looked like I could have had a good chance there to get to ten under par, and then to finish at seven is a bit disappointing. I hit a few loose shots coming in.

“It’s something I’ll have to try and eliminate tomorrow if I want to try and lead this golf tournament going into Sunday.

I’m still tied for the lead. I’m in the same position I was last night, but I feel like I could have definitely shot a few better today. But if that’s my worst round of the week, it’s not too bad.

A win for McIlroy this weekend and at the season-ending Dubai World Championship would see him leapfrog Luke Donald at the top of the European Tour’s money list.

And it seemed that lady luck had taken a shine to the 22-year-old early on as a mishit approach to the par five second rebounded off a hospitality van and onto the green where he was able to two-putt to save par.

McIlroy capitalised on that good fortune with his first birdie of the day at the third but handed the shot straight back on the next hole with a bogey on the par-three fourth.

It wasn’t until the turn that the Northern Irishman really hit his stride, knocking in birdie putts at eight, 10 and 12.

That run saw him soar to nine-under and engineer some daylight between himself and the chasing pack before his late slip saw him fall back alongside Quiros.

But despite the late disappointment, McIlroy insists that he won’t get too disheartened.

I’ve just got to try and get through this weekend as best I can, and really give it everything.

“Obviously try and win the tournament to give myself a chance going into next week, and then take it easy for the first few days of next week in Dubai and try and get myself in the best possible shape for Thursday.”

Panupol Pittayarat of Thailand and Scotland’s Richie Ramsey lie two shots off the lead going into the weekend while Miguel Angel Jiminez, Danny Lee and Pariya Junhasavasdikul are clustered together a further shot back on five-under.

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