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'Unless you're Phil': Rory McIlroy aims light-hearted jibe at Mickelson after firing his way into contention at Genesis Invitational


Rory McIlroy is tied for second at the Genesis Invitational

Rory McIlroy is tied for second at the Genesis Invitational

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Rory McIlroy is tied for second at the Genesis Invitational

Rory McIlroy was in in understandably jovial mood after a second round 67 left the world number one second at the midway point of the Genesis Invitational.

McIlroy is now seven under for the tournament, just two behind leader Matt Kuchar and alongside Harold Varner III and Wyndham Clark.

There are 44 players under par in a tightly packed field at Pacific Palisades, and McIlroy had a go at explaining why the pack is proving hard to separate.

"You can't really lose a ball unless you're Phil," he laughed, after Mickelson's wayward drive at the par four third had somehow escaped a search party of around 100 spectators.

"It's a golf course where there are no hazards to really hit it in.

"It's sort of one of these where if you hit it offline, you're going to get it and you're going to have a chance to recover and use your short game and get away with a par and move on to the next hole.

"So I think that's why. That's the beauty about Riviera, you don't necessarily have to have your best as long as your manage your game well, you're always going to be in there with a chance."

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Mickelson had to reload off the tee, costing him a bogey five on route to missing the cut by three shots.

McIlroy, as he pointed out, hasn't been similarly punished for what has been a wayward performance off the tee, with a driving accuracy of just 28.57% for the week.

While that gives a bad look, the Holywood golfer went a way to explaining how he has managed to score.

"I'm managing my game well," he explained. "You know, I've hit a couple loose shots here and there, but I'm thinking my way around the golf course and, you know, that's what this place is all about.

"I mean, you can hit a few squirrelly shots and get away with it as long as you miss it in the right places, and for the first couple days I've done that.

"I'm feeling pretty good about my game. I've hit some nice short irons, I've held on pretty well for the most part, my chipping and short game's been good, so those are all things I'll need over the weekend."

McIlroy managed to birdie all three of the par fives on Friday, picking up three more shots to counteract two birdies and tie the third lowest round of the day.

He tees off his third round alongside Kuchar and Varner III at 6pm GMT.

Tiger Woods had a frustrating day, carding a two over par 73 to sit even par for the week, just one shot above the cut-mark.

He'll have to put in two outstanding rounds to have any chance of reeling in McIlroy and Kuchar.

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