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McIlroy shares European lead

Rory McIlroy shares the lead at the halfway stage of the Omega European Masters in Switzerland - the first qualifying event for next year's Ryder Cup.

A two-under-par 69 was, somewhat surprisingly, good enough to put the US Open champion out in front on eight under alongside England's Simon Dyson and Gary Boyd and Welshman Jamie Donaldson.

It came after overnight leader Nick Dougherty, only too aware that he had missed his previous 21 cuts going back to last November, added a 72 to his opening 63.

That dropped the 29-year-old Liverpudlian to joint fifth, but only a stroke behind as he tries to re-ignite his career and save himself from a return to the qualifying school at the end of the season.

Struggling on bumpy greens McIlroy said: "I gave myself a lot of chances and wasn't able to convert them, which was pretty frustrating. The greens were not as good as we got them [Thursday] morning and I got a bit tentative."

The 22-year-old Northern Irishman, back in action three weeks after injuring his arm against a tree root at the USPGA Championship, made an eagle two on the driveable seventh, but gave the strokes back with a seven at the long ninth, driving into trouble and then three-putting from only four feet.

His only deviation from par on the back nine was a birdie at the 516-yard 15th, and even there he missed a 14-foot eagle opportunity.

Dyson, trying to follow up his Irish Open success a month ago, shot 68 and commented: "I played solid again and if I keep on like that hopefully I will be right in the mix again.

"The game's as good as it's ever been."

Boyd (69) and Donaldson (66) are chasing their first European Tour titles, but while 24-year-old Boyd is in just his second full season on the circuit, 35-year-old Donaldson has played approaching 250 events going back a decade.


From Belfast Telegraph