McIlroy in control at Open, Tiger survives by his fingernails

Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:28pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - This time there was no freaky Friday for Rory McIlroy as a majestic second round gave him a four-shot stranglehold on the British Open at a sweltering Royal Liverpool course.

Several second round blow-outs this season, the most recent at the Scottish Open, meant all eyes were on the 25-year-old Northern Irishman to see if he could capitalize on his one-stroke overnight lead rather than shoot himself in the foot.

Apart from a jittery bogey on the first, his only dropped shot so far, he was immaculate, racking up seven birdies for a second successive round of 66 for a 12-under total of 132.

Tiger Woods attracted huge galleries but a triple bogey at the 17th meant the 14-times major champion needed a birdie at the last to make the cut by his fingernails.

He duly obliged but barring an extraordinary turnaround in his form he will be making up the numbers at the weekend.

Less celebrated American Dustin Johnson will lead the chase of the run-away McIlroy after a tournament best seven-under 65 fired him into contention for his first major.

Fellow Americans Rickie Fowler and Ryan Moore were in a formidable group of six players on six under, which also included Italy's Francesco Molinari, popular Spaniard Sergio Garcia, 2011 U.S. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen.

After a relatively calm opening day, warm, gusting winds of around 20mph (32kph) meant birdies were at a premium for the early starters with South African George Coetzee the only player to make a move with a 69 that gave him the clubhouse lead.   Continued...

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the eighth tee during the second round of the British Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, northern England July 18, 2014.          REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton