British Open

Rory McIlroy holds up just fine in British Open

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 July, 2014, 12:56am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 July, 2014, 12:56am


So much for those second-round doldrums. Rory McIlroy was holding up just fine on day two of the British Open.

As for Tiger Woods, it looks as though he’s still a bit rusty.

McIlroy, who has struggled on Fridays throughout the year for reasons that are a mystery to him and everyone else, was nine under par after 13 holes at Royal Liverpool, putting him three shots ahead of the field.

This is definitely my favourite major. It’s nice to play well, obviously, in a very prestigious event. And to have my birthday coincide with it is also nice
George Coetzee

Woods, on the other hand, went tumbling off the leader board with a double bogey at the first hole and a bogey at the second. He was at par after 14 holes. Looks like that 15th major title will have to wait a little longer, which really shouldn’t be surprising for someone playing for only the second time since back surgery.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson bounced back from a 74 on Thursday with a 70 that left him safe for the weekend. The world’s top-ranked player, Adam Scott, rallied for a 73 with birdies on the final two holes, leaving him solidly in contention for his second major title.

On a day that was tougher for scoring, McIlroy was unlikely to match the six-under 66 that pushed him into the lead after the first round.

But midway through the second round at Hoylake, he was doing quite nicely.

However, before making his third birdie of the front side, he had to deal with a different kind of birdie. A pheasant wandered onto the green as McIlroy was lining up his putt. He shooed it away with help from his caddie, both of them chuckling at the strange scene.

Sergio Garcia struck the best shot of the day, holing a 150-yard shot from the edge of the rough for an eagle at the second. The Spaniard, still seeking that first major title most thought he would have won long before now, was at five under after 16 while Italy’s Francesco Molinari finished his round six under.

George Coetzee, a South African who this year won for the first time on the European Tour. On his 28th birthday, he gave himself a pretty nice gift – a 69 that took his 36-hole score to five-under 139 and five under after two rounds.

“This is definitely my favourite major,” Coetzee said. “It’s always going to be my birthday week. It’s nice to play well, obviously, in a very prestigious event. And to have my birthday coincide with it is also nice.”