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Watch: Rory McIlroy ties for the lead at The Players Championship as McGinley talks up star's 'consistent' game

Rory McIlroy reacts after following his eagle at the 16th with a birdie on the 17th hole's island green.
Rory McIlroy reacts after following his eagle at the 16th with a birdie on the 17th hole's island green.

Rory McIlroy is tied for the lead at the halfway stage of The Players Championship at Sawgrass.

The Holywood golfer shot a seven under par 65 on day two to match Tommy Fleetwood's 12 under par total. The leading pair are three shots clear of the chasing pack with Jim Furyk, Ian Poulter, Brian Harman and Abraham Ancer on nine under.

McIlroy bogeyed his opening hole on Friday but three birdies had him two under at the turn. A blemish-free back nine included three birdies and a stunning eagle at the par five 16th.

A birdie on the famous island green at the 17th followed to take McIlroy level with Fleetwood before a comfortable two-putt par on the last.

"Everything's matching up," McIlroy told Sky Sports. "There are still a couple of things I'm working on but if I can get (the club) into position, I feel I can do whatever I want with the ball.

"Going to the (TaylorMade) Spider putter has helped me aim better. I put the work in but when I aim the putter, all I have to concentrate on is the stroke.

"Tommy (Fleetwood) played great last week and finished third. I had my chances as well. It's great - if you don't succeed last week you get straight back on the course. I'm looking forward to that grouping tomorrow."

If McIlroy is upbeat about his game, Paul McGinley is even more so. The 2019 Irish Open host reckons McIlroy is well placed for an impressive 2019 season.

"I've never seen him play as consistently," McGinley said on Sky Sports. "He's made one bogey in two days, his driving is sensational. We've seen brilliance but we've never seen the consistency that he's showing this year and that's taken him to another level. I know Tommy is up there with him but he's the man to beat."

Tiger Woods is nine shots back on three under par after hitting two balls into the water at the 17th, coming off the island green with a quadruple bogey seven on his way to a one under 71.

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