McIlroy pulls clear at the top
Rory McIlroy has banished the memory of St Andrews and will take a two-stroke lead into the third round of The Masters.
The Northern Irishman, trying to become the second youngest winner of the title after Tiger Woods, added a 69 to his brilliant opening 65. He is 10 under par and two in front Augusta rookie Jason Day after the 23-year-old Australian fired a spectacular 64.
Woods is joint third with Korean KJ Choi on seven under after a nine-birdie 66 and last year's runner-up Lee Westwood two further back following a 67. The former world number one looked in danger of missing the cut at level par after seven, but then came a hat-trick of birdies around the turn, three more in a row from the 13th and another to finish.
Whatever happens over the closing 36 holes, however, there will be no need in the future for McIlroy to fear a second round repeat of last summer's Open when he followed a 63 with a nightmare 80.
The 21-year-old insists he is just going to ignore the chasing superstars and concentrate on playing the course.
"If I start thinking about anybody else it could cost you a couple of shots," he said. "I don't really care what anybody else does. I don't need to know. It would be great for the tournament if Tiger is up there, but I am in a better position and I feel comfortable."
Defending champion Phil Mickelson is on two under after a level par round. His chances of a successful defence and a fourth green jacket in eight years were hit by three bogeys in four holes from the third.
In typical fashion the tournament favourite, a winner in Houston on Sunday, then birdied three of the next four, but he bogeyed the 11th after failing to find the green for the second day in a row and missed out on birdie chances at the 13th and 15th, Augusta's two par fives on the inward half.
Graeme McDowell, playing with Woods, missed the cut by two after losing a ball and running up a triple bogey six on the 12th, where joint first-round leader Alvaro Quiros's title hopes nosedived by taking two in a bunker and carding a five.
World number one Martin Kaymer also crashed out for the fourth time in a row at the event and Padraig Harrington could not recover from his opening 77. He had nearly not played because of neck trouble.