Rory McIlroy Stays Hot, Ups Open Lead to Four Strokes
There was no second-round fade for Rory McIlroy this week; instead the Northern Irishman enters the weekend with a four-stroke lead
McIlroy, who already has titles at the US Open and PGA Championship in his short career, is two days away from adding his first at the Major closest to his heart.
Using a series of flawless approach shots, McIlroy carded his second-straight 6-under 66, the second-lowest score of the day, to reach 12-under for the tournament.
The US’ Dustin Johnson is in second place at 8-under. Johnson’s 7-under 65 was the best round of the tournament to date.
McIlroy bogeyed No. 1 on Friday, then went on a birdie binge with four between holes 5 and 10, and another three between 15 and 18.
Johnson, who finished second at the Open Championship in 2011, matched McIlroy with seven birdies on the day.
Six players are tied for third at 6-under, including American Rickie Fowler, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and a pair of South Africans – Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen.
Garcia started off the round with a wild sequence of bogey, eagle, bogey before leveling out to shoot a 2-under 70. Perhaps the best player on tour without a Major title, Garcia finished second at The Open in 2007.
The top 10 is rounded out by a trio of players tied for ninth at 5-under: the US’ Jim Furyk, South Africa’s George Coetzee and Scotland’s Marc Warren.
FedEx Cup points leader Jimmy Walker is tied for 12th at 4-under along with France’s Victor Dubuisson, who recorded his own 6-under 66.
Race to Dubai leader Thomas Bjorn is at 3-under along with world No. 1 Adam Scott, who struggled to a 1-over 73
Defending champion Phil Mickelson rose from 84th to tied for 31st in the standings by firing a 2-under 70 to reach even par through 36 holes. Mickleson overcame two early bogeys with a birdie on No. 4 and an eagle on No. 5, but had just one birdie and eight pars on the back nine, tying him at even par with the likes of Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan.
Fourteen-time Major winner Tiger Woods, PGA 2013 Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth, England’s Luke Donald and American all-time great Tom Watson were among the last group to make the cut, projected at 2-over.
Among the more notable names not making the cut: Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Angel Miguel Jimenez, 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson, and Ernie Els.