Rory McIlroy facing test of nerve at Malaysian Open
After his US Masters meltdown, Rory McIlroy will be taking nothing for granted as he shares the joint lead of the Malaysia Open following a second round 64.
McIlroy improved on an opening round of three under 69 to reach 11 under 133 at the halfway stage of the tournament.
He joined first round leader, Sweden's Alexander Noren, on the mark at Kuala Lumpur CC.
The duo are one clear of Simon Dyson through 36 holes.
Through two rounds, McIlroy made just one bogey — at the par four 14th on Thursday.
Yesterday’s round was flawless on that front. McIlroy went out in 31 with four par four birdies and also a birdie at the opening par five 10th.
Swinging to the back, McIlroy grabbed just three birdies, on both par five holes and the par three eighth.
Kuala Lumpur is no Augusta National but McIlroy also had just one dropped shot through two rounds of the Masters last week.
Hopefully jet lag and supreme confidence will help him forget that number going into the weekend, but it appears the Holywood star is aware of his early round successes in the past and the end result.
“I was in this position last week — leading going into the weekend — and I’ve led going into a few weekends this year and haven’t quite got the win so hopefully this will be the week to get it,” said McIlroy.
“If I can win then hopefully it will be the springboard to more victories this year.”
The world number nine added: “Eleven under after two days here is a great effort considering I’ve travelled so far and not seeing the course. I’m happy with how I played.
“It would show more to everyone else other than myself that last week didn’t set me back. I’ve started this week off great but I need to keep going and making birdies and shooting low scores if I want to win.”
McIlroy also needs to tackle the heat and humidity.
“I don’t mind the heat but my hands get sweaty. It’s hard to grip the club sometimes. You have towels here and towels there to make sure everything is dry,” he added.
“My hands sweat more than a lot of players so I have to make sure my grip is dry and hands are sweat-free.”
Englishman Dyson matched McIlroy’s 64, while world No. 1 Martin Kaymer, who failed to make the cut at Augusta, carded 71 to be three-under.
New Masters champion Charl Schwartzel is in danger of missing the cut. He was level par for the tournament through 13 holes of his second round when lightning caused play to be suspended.