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Rory McIllroy still rusty but there's light at end of tunnel

By Phil Casey

Published 27/08/2016

Off target: Rory McIlroy after missing a putt at the tenth during yesterday’s second round at The Barclays
Off target: Rory McIlroy after missing a putt at the tenth during yesterday’s second round at The Barclays

Rory McIlroy showed signs of improvement as he continued his comeback from an ankle injury with a two-under-par round on day two at The Barclays.

The 27-year-old, who has not played since missing the cut at the PGA Championship almost a month ago, bettered Thursday's level-par effort at Bethpage Black.

McIlroy, down at number five in the world rankings and chasing his first PGA Tour win of the year, shot four birdies and two bogeys in a round of 69.

That left him six shots behind front-runner Patrick Reed, who led by two shots on eight under at the New York course.

An encouraged McIlroy said: "I think one of the big things I'm really excited about are things are back to where they were before my ankle injury. Even in the first part of this year my ball speed, my swing speed wasn't up to where I wanted it to be, but with that I can fully commit so I'm really happy with that.

"My wedge play hasn't been as good as I wanted it to be but off the tee and approach play from 150 and out has been great. Things I need to work on are from 150 in and obviously my putting."

He added: "It was nice to get to minus four.

"But you can see some of the guys' scores out there today, it was there.

"The wind wasn't as up as it was Thursday afternoon, and the greens were rolling a little better for us.

"You know, if there was any day or any time to make a good score, that was it.

"Looked like I was heading towards that. Gave a couple back on the way in."

Portrush's Graeme McDowell was on course to miss the cut on six over par.

Meanwhile, Welshman Bradley Dredge's liking for the Made in Denmark event came to the fore again after a second-round 66 gave him a three-shot lead heading into the weekend.

Windy conditions made Thursday's course record-equalling scoring virtually impossible at the Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort in Farso.

However Dredge, a runner-up in 2014 and sixth last year, carded six birdies with only one dropped shot to move from one behind overnight leaders Thomas Pieters, Joakim Lagergren and Tom Lewis to three in front.

At 13-under he has a cushion over Lagergren, who shot a one-under 70.

South African Richard Sterne, one of the morning starters, carded a 67 to get into a share of third with Pieters on nine under.

"You come to courses sometimes and it just seems to suit your eye and I'm comfortable on the greens so you can never explain it," Dredge said.

"Golf is always funny and I'm just glad that I'm here and performing. I'm delighted with my score. I'm in a good position for the weekend. I've been in a good position a few years ago and got beaten by Marc Warren.

"My game is in good shape but I know I'm going to have to play well on the weekend."

England's Lewis, whose opening 62 equalled the course record with his co-leaders on the first day, went round in 10 shots more yesterday.

However, despite a one-over round, he was still within touching distance of the lead at eight under.

That was a stroke ahead of a group which included England's Oliver Wilson who carded a best-of-the-day 65.

That score was matched by Ireland's Shane Lowry, who had seven birdies as he leapt to two under after an opening 75.

Ulster's Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke missed the cut after finishing five over par.

Belfast Telegraph

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