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Rory McIlroy fires warning to his rivals with stunning round in Memorial Tournament Ohio

By Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy is relishing the weekend action after shooting a superb six under par 66 in the Memorial Tournament in Ohio.

That blasted the Ulsterman back into contention in the $8.5million event, although he is still five off the pace on seven under.

World number one Jason Day is also seven under. Jordan Spieth is one shot back.

McIlroy, fresh from winning the Irish Open at the K Club, said: “I’m really pleased. To shoot 66 was nice.

“I would have taken that on the first tee.

“I am in a decent position now,” he added.

Americans Brendan Steele and Matt Kuchar lead the way on 12 under par.

Ian Poulter is a major doubt for the Ryder Cup as he faces four months out of action due to a foot injury, with the four-time winner facing a race to be fit to compete at Hazeltine from the end of September.

The diagnosis has been an arthritic joint in his right foot that has caused him pain for a while, leaving him struggling to walk and practice.

Poulter is certain to miss out on qualifying for Ulsterman Darren Clarke’s European team, with the Englishman currently placed 85th in the world rankings and facing the prospect of playing no golf until the Ryder Cup begins.

Poulter is set to miss the US Open later this month, as well as the two other majors left this year, the Open at Royal Troon and the US PGA Championship at Baaltusrol.

Poulter has represented Europe in 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, winning all but the 2008 event and inspiring Jose Maria Olazabal’s side to the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012, the last time the competition was held in the United States.

The Ryder Cup begins on Friday, September 30, culminating with the singles on Sunday, October 2.

Currently, Poulter would need a captain’s pick to make Clarke’s team.

Meanwhile, Michael Hoey remains within striking distance of the leaders at the Nordea Masters in Stockholm.

The Belfast man shot a one under par second round 71 and lies on four under for the tournament.

England’s Matt Fitzpatrick has earned the halfway lead on 11 under.

Sixty two players were separated by just four shots after the first round at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club.

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