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Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, center, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, left, and Jordan Spieth of the US walk up to the 5th tee box during the second day of the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, Friday July 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
British Open: No second-round collapse for Rory McIlroy
British Open » He fires another 66 to take four-shot lead.
First Published Jul 18 2014 01:45 pm • Last Updated Jul 18 2014 10:57 pm

Hoylake, England • Rory McIlroy only saw birdies at Royal Liverpool, mostly on his scorecard, and even one pheasant that trotted across the eighth green as he was lining up a putt. That was but a minor interruption in his command performance Friday in the British Open.

Once he made a birdie, and then another, nothing could stop McIlroy.

At a glance

Friday’s scores

British Open

At Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Hoylake, England

Purse: $9.24 million

Yardage » 7,312; Par » 72

Second round

(a-amateur)

Rory McIlroy 66-66 — 132 -12

Dustin Johnson 71-65 — 136 -8

Francesco Molinari 68-70 — 138 -6

Ryan Moore 70-68 — 138 -6

Rickie Fowler 69-69 — 138 -6

Sergio Garcia 68-70 — 138 -6

Charl Schwartzel 71-67 — 138 -6

Louis Oosthuizen 70-68 — 138 -6

George Coetzee 70-69 — 139 -5

Jim Furyk 68-71 — 139 -5

Marc Warren 71-68 — 139 -5

Robert Karlsson 69-71 — 140 -4

Jimmy Walker 69-71 — 140 -4

Victor Dubuisson 74-66 — 140 -4

Adam Scott 68-73 — 141 -3

Marc Leishman 69-72 — 141 -3

Edoardo Molinari 68-73 — 141 -3

Thomas Bjorn 70-71 — 141 -3

Bill Haas 70-72 — 142 -2

Justin Rose 72-70 — 142 -2

David Howell 72-70 — 142 -2

Matteo Manassero 67-75 — 142 -2

Stephen Gallacher 70-72 — 142 -2

Shane Lowry 68-75 — 143 -1

Byeong-Hun An 72-71 — 143 -1

Branden Grace 71-72 — 143 -1

Hideki Matsuyama 69-74 — 143 -1

Graeme McDowell 74-69 — 143 -1

David Hearn 70-73 — 143 -1

Kristoffer Broberg 70-73 — 143 -1

D.A. Points 75-69 — 144 E

Gary Woodland 75-69 — 144 E

Thongchai Jaidee 72-72 — 144 E

Phil Mickelson 74-70 — 144 E

Jason Dufner 70-74 — 144 E

Keegan Bradley 73-71 — 144 E

Gregory Bourdy 75-69 — 144 E

Chris Rodgers 73-71 — 144 E

Ben Martin 71-73 — 144 E

Darren Clarke 72-72 — 144 E

Matt Kuchar 73-71 — 144 E

Hunter Mahan 71-73 — 144 E

Kevin Stadler 73-72 — 145 +1

Chris Kirk 71-74 — 145 +1

Martin Kaymer 73-72 — 145 +1

John Senden 71-74 — 145 +1

Billy Hurley III 73-72 — 145 +1

Matt Jones 71-74 — 145 +1

Chris Wood 75-70 — 145 +1

Brooks Koepka 68-77 — 145 +1

Paul Casey 74-71 — 145 +1

Angel Cabrera 76-69 — 145 +1

Henrik Stenson 72-73 — 145 +1

Ryan Palmer 74-71 — 145 +1

Brian Harman 72-73 — 145 +1

Jamie McLeary 73-73 — 146 +2

Charley Hoffman 74-72 — 146 +2

Kevin Streelman 72-74 — 146 +2

Brendon Todd 73-73 — 146 +2

Brandt Snedeker 74-72 — 146 +2

Jason Day 73-73 — 146 +2

Zach Johnson 71-75 — 146 +2

Kevin Na 76-70 — 146 +2

Koumei Oda 69-77 — 146 +2

Thorbjorn Olesen 75-71 — 146 +2

Stewart Cink 71-75 — 146 +2

Tom Watson 73-73 — 146 +2

Luke Donald 73-73 — 146 +2

Matt Every 75-71 — 146 +2

Tiger Woods 69-77 — 146 +2

Jordan Spieth 71-75 — 146 +2

Rhein Gibson 72-74 — 146 +2

Missed the cut

Hiroshi Iwata 70-77 — 147 +3

Shawn Stefani 73-74 — 147 +3

Nick Watney 72-75 — 147 +3

Graham DeLaet 71-76 — 147 +3

Lee Westwood 71-76 — 147 +3

Rafael Cabrera-Bello 70-77 — 147 +3

Oliver Fisher 72-75 — 147 +3

Dawie Van Der Walt 71-76 — 147 +3

K. Aphibarnrat 72-75 — 147 +3

a-Ashley Chesters 70-77 — 147 +3

Justin Leonard 74-73 — 147 +3

K.J. Choi 72-75 — 147 +3

Ian Poulter 73-74 — 147 +3

Paul McKechnie 76-71 — 147 +3

Oscar Floren 73-74 — 147 +3

Yoshinobu Tsukada 69-78 — 147 +3

Brendon de Jonge 78-70 — 148 +4

a-Cheng-Tsung Pan 74-74 — 148 +4

Boo Weekley 69-79 — 148 +4

Danny Willett 74-74 — 148 +4

M. Angel Jimenez 75-73 — 148 +4

Bubba Watson 76-72 — 148 +4

Billy Horschel 73-75 — 148 +4

Ryo Ishikawa 74-74 — 148 +4

John Daly 77-71 — 148 +4

Ross Fisher 74-74 — 148 +4

a-Paul Dunne 75-73 — 148 +4

Cameron Tringale 74-74 — 148 +4

Erik Compton 71-77 — 148 +4

Hyung-Sung Kim 72-76 — 148 +4

Fredrik Jacobson 70-78 — 148 +4

Ben Curtis 74-74 — 148 +4

Mikko Ilonen 70-78 — 148 +4

Harris English 72-76 — 148 +4

Brett Rumford 75-73 — 148 +4

John Singleton 78-70 — 148 +4

Hyung-Tae Kim 75-73 — 148 +4

Scott Stallings 75-74 — 149 +5

Yusaku Miyazato 72-77 — 149 +5

George McNeill 76-73 — 149 +5

Rhys Enoch 73-76 — 149 +5

Patrick Reed 78-71 — 149 +5

Juvic Pagunsan 76-73 — 149 +5

Jonas Blixt 75-75 — 150 +6

G. F.-Castano 74-76 — 150 +6

Tommy Fleetwood 74-76 — 150 +6

Matthew Baldwin 76-74 — 150 +6

Anirban Lahiri 75-75 — 150 +6

Victor Riu 74-77 — 151 +7

Y.E. Yang 75-76 — 151 +7

A Shun Wu 75-76 — 151 +7

J.B. Holmes 74-77 — 151 +7

Jamie Donaldson 79-72 — 151 +7

Chesson Hadley 79-72 — 151 +7

Justin Walters 77-74 — 151 +7

Masanori Kobayashi 78-73 — 151 +7

Bernd Wiesberger 72-79 — 151 +7

Todd Hamilton 77-74 — 151 +7

Tyrrell Hatton 75-77 — 152 +8

Pablo Larrazabal 75-77 — 152 +8

Ernie Els 79-73 — 152 +8

Richard Sterne 73-79 — 152 +8

David Duval 73-79 — 152 +8

Padraig Harrington 74-78 — 152 +8

Webb Simpson 76-77 — 153 +9

Nick Faldo 76-77 — 153 +9

Tomohiro Kondo 76-77 — 153 +9

Brendan Steele 74-80 — 154 +10

Scott Jamieson 77-77 — 154 +10

Paul Lawrie 79-75 — 154 +10

Roberto Castro 74-81 — 155 +11

Russell Henley 75-80 — 155 +11

Yeon-jin Jeong 77-78 — 155 +11

a-Bradley Neil 79-76 — 155 +11

Chris Hanson 81-74 — 155 +11

Matthew Southgate 80-76 — 156 +12

Chris Stroud 79-77 — 156 +12

Peter Uihlein 77-79 — 156 +12

Dong-Kyu Jang 78-79 — 157 +13

Joost Luiten 81-76 — 157 +13

Mark Wiebe 79-78 — 157 +13

Sandy Lyle 82-84 — 166 +22

Bryden MacPherson 90-80 — 170 +26

Michael Hoey 75-WD

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After a bogey on his opening hole stirred memories of another "Black Friday," McIlroy looked more like the Boy Wonder who won two majors in a runaway. With three birdies in his last four holes, he posted a second straight 6-under 66 to build a four-shot lead over Dustin Johnson.

McIlroy spoke of an "inner peace," and the two secret words that triggered his powerful swing and set up birdie chances on just about every hole.

"People call it the zone, people call it whatever," he said. "It’s just a state of mind where you think clearly. Everything seems to be on the right track. I’ve always said, whenever you play this well, you always wonder how you’ve played so badly before. And whenever you’ve played so badly, you always wonder how you play so well. I’m happy where my game is at the minute. And hopefully, I can just keep up the solid play for another couple of days."

Tiger Woods is fortunate to even play for two more days.

He started the second round only three shots behind. He finished it on the 18th hole, standing over a 6-foot birdie putt just to avoid missing back-to-back cuts for the first time in his career.

Dustin Johnson birdied the last two holes for a 65, the low score of the week. That ordinarily would put him in the last group with McIlroy, except they will have company in a historic decision at golf’s oldest championship. Because of a nasty storm approaching England, the Open will go to threesomes teeing off on both sides Saturday.

Francesco Molinari (70) will join them. He was part of a large group at 6-under 210 that included Rickie Fowler (69), Sergio Garcia (70), Charl Schwartzel (67), Louis Oosthuizen (68) and Ryan Moore (68). Johnson had a chance at the claret jug three years ago until a 2-iron that went out-of-bounds on the 14th hole at Royal St. George’s. He also lost a three-shot lead in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and missed out on a playoff at Whistling Straits for grounding his club in sand at the 2010 PGA Championship.

"I’m glad and I’m in the last group," Johnson said. "Just go out there and try to shoot a big number."


story continues below
story continues below

Four shots can be lost quickly in any major, especially in links golf, particularly in nasty weather. McIlroy followed up a record-tying 63 at St. Andrews in 2010 with an 80 the following day. Even so, the ease with which he moved around Royal Liverpool was more frightening than any forecast.

McIlroy picked up his first birdie with two putts from across the green on the par-5 fifth. But it was on the par-3 sixth, when McIlroy deposited an 8-iron to 7 feet for birdie, that he found that peace and put the pedal down on the rest of the field.



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