SYDNEY (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy said all he needed to do was cut the "bad stuff" out of his game for a really low score at the Australian Open after managing to par only five holes in a rollercoaster second round on Friday.
The Northern Irishman hit an eagle, six birdles and six bogeys for a second successive two-under-par 69 at The Australian Golf Course to finish the day a shot behind leader Greg Chalmers on four-under.
Having hunted down Adam Scott on the final day at Royal Sydney last year to lift the Stonehaven Cup, McIlroy knows he needs to be patient and is convinced there is a low score out on the course for him.
"Oh, definitely, I had six birdies and an eagle today, you eliminate the bad stuff and you turn that into a low score," he told reporters.
"I'll try and limit the mistakes over the weekend and try and go a bit lower. I actually felt like I played much better than yesterday, I don't quite feel the score reflected that.
"I'm very happy with my game and that's a good sign going into the weekend."
Admitting the wind had fooled him a few times and that he had struggled with his wedge shots, McIlroy took reassurance from the fact that no other player had broken clear of the field.
"Even when I did go back to even par for the tournament after the 13th, I felt I was still only four shots off the lead," he said.
"The leaderboard's quite bunched, just try and stay as patient as possible and know that there's still 36 holes of golf to go and as long as I'm within a few of the lead, it's a really good position."
The 25-year-old got a boost going into the back nine from a 35-foot snaking putt for a birdie at the ninth but his round really came alive with an eagle at the par-five 14th.
"I got one par the last 10 holes," he laughed. "It was nice that eagle on the 14th to cancel out the bogeys on 12 and 13 and then the way I finished makes me feel much better about my round."
The finish was three birdies in the last four holes sandwiching a bogey at the 16th, the last shot picked up at the 18th after he got the ball out of a greenside bunker to within two feet of the pin.
Editing by John O'Brien