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McIlroy seven shots clear

Rory McIlroy increased his lead from three to an incredible seven shots in the first eight holes of his second round in the US Open today.

The 22-year-old Northern Irishman, bogey-free in his superb opening 65, sank a 25-foot birdie putt at the 470-yard fourth and then picked up another shot from six feet on the long sixth - despite driving into heavy rough.

But the biggest roar was saved for the 354-yard eighth, where his 113-yard approach landed on the back edge of the green and spun back into the cup for an eagle two. McIlroy stood a brilliant 10 under par, with former Masters champion Zach Johnson and Korean YE Yang next best at three under.

He was dominating the event just two months after also starting the Masters with a 65. With a round to go at Augusta, McIlroy was four clear, but then came a closing 80 and he finished an amazing 10 strokes behind South African Charl Schwartzel.

He cannot have forgotten either that in last year's Open at St Andrews he began with a major record-equalling 63 and followed that with another 80 in Friday's strong winds.

Conditions could not have been better this time, though - calm and with the course further softened by heavy overnight rain.

Johnson moved into second - a distant second, it had to be said - with a birdie at the second and then eagle on the sixth, but playing partner Schwartzel, joint second overnight on three under, bogeyed the third and fifth before coming back with a birdie.

He was two under and part of a group which also included Spain's Sergio Garcia. Disappointed to three-putt the final green last night for a 69, Garcia, who made it into the event only by surviving a qualifying play-off last week, had two birdies and two bogeys in his first seven holes, but was on the tougher back nine.

McIlroy was playing with five-time runner-up Phil Mickelson. He resumed nine back, but was at least keeping pace with the youngster this morning.

That was thanks to birdies at the fifth and sixth, first with an eight-foot putt and then with a 10-footer after going over the green in two from the rough at the par five.


From Belfast Telegraph