John­son and Fowler lead way as McIl­roy bat­tles to make the cut

Dunne lies just one shot off the lead in Made in Den­mark event on Euro­pean Tour

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

Dogged and de­ter­mined, Rory McIl­roy went into the second round of the North­ern Trust at Glen Oaks in New York fight­ing for his sur­vival.

He achieved his ob­jec­tive in mak­ing the cut as he shot 68 a to add to his open­ing 73 for a mid­way to­tal of one-over par 141 to en­sure he would be around for the week­end.

Although it was Bri­tish Open cham­pion Jor­dan Spi­eth who pro­duced most of the cham­pagne golf with a run of five suc­ces­sive birdies in mov­ing into the thick of con­tention, McIl­roy’s fare was more akin to that a craft beer which ap­pealed to se­lect tastes.

The 28-year-old North­ern Ir­ish­man did what he had to do with a round that com­prised three birdies and one bo­gey.

McIl­roy, the de­fend­ing FedEx Cup cham­pion, but still seek­ing his first win of an in­jury-plagued sea­son, guar­an­teed he would get the chance for fur­ther up­ward mo­men­tum over the week­end with a solid if un­spec­tac­u­lar round with birdies on the 13th from 18 feet and 16th from 10 feet and a chip-in on the second, his 11th.

His only bo­gey came on the 14th, where his put­ter be­trayed him and he ran up a three-putt.

Club­house lead­ers

The only Ir­ish player to make the FedEx Cup play­offs, McIl­roy – who was in dan­ger of miss­ing the cut after an open­ing 73 – at least man­aged to en­sure his pres­ence for the week­end but he was all of seven shots adrift of the club­house lead­ers after world num­ber one Dustin John­son, Rickie Fowler and Jonny Ve­gas reached the mid­point on six-un­der-par 134 with Spi­eth also very much in the hunt.

Fowler, with four top-10s in his last five starts on the PGA Tour, shot a second round 66 to share the lead with Ve­gas and John­son but in­tent on claim­ing a win.

“This is def­i­nitely the high­est I’ve been in points go­ing into the Play­offs and I want to make sure I stay in­side the top five go­ing into East Lake. We’re off to a good start but look­ing for­ward to a good week­end.

“The last two days, I feel like I’ve driven it fairly well. I’ve only missed three fair­ways, one of them which I thought was ac­tu­ally per­fect and went through the fair­way. But play­ing out of the fair­ways is a big key here to take ad­van­tage of some of the shorter holes but also give you a chance to hit these longer ones in reg­u­la­tion.”

Spi­eth, for his part, put on a master­class on this back nine with a run of five suc­ces­sive birdies from the 10th and then, after bo­gey­ing the 15th, re­sponded with a long birdie putt on the 16th to also get to six un­der into a share of the lead.

One shot off lead

Mean­while, Ire­land’s Paul Dunne is right in con­tention at the Made in Den­mark event in Farso, a second round of three-un­der 68 leav­ing him just one shot off the lead go­ing into the week­end.

The 24-year-old from Grey­stones carded five birdies and two bo­geys at a windy Him­me­land lay­out to move to seven un­der, which he shares with Eng­land’s David Horsey, Scot­land’s Marc Warren and Indian golfer SSP Cha­ra­sia.

Eng­land’s Steve Web­ster leads the way on eight un­der after a one-un­der 70.

“I hit the ball re­ally well to­day and con­trolled the ball very well in the wind,” said Dunne.

Dunne fin­ished in the top 10 at the tour­na­ment last year and he’s hop­ing he can merge the best parts of his play over the open­ing two rounds to­day.

“The game plan is more of the same. I know we all say it but there are a lot guys bunched on that leader­board so it’s go­ing to be pretty tight over the week­end. If I can hit the ball like I did to­day and putt like I did yes­ter­day I’ll have a great chance to win but there is a long way to go.”

Michael Hoey carded a two-un­der 69 but missed the cut after fin­ish­ing on two over, while Gary Hur­ley also missed the week­end after adding a 75 to his open­ing 77.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: GETTY IM­AGES

Rory McIl­roy on the 17th hole dur­ing the second round of the North­ern Trust at Glen Oaks Club in Westbury, New York.

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