Rory McIlroy ties for lead at 11 under
An accomplished finish by Rory McIlroy in Friday’s Dunhill Links Championship earned the Briton a share of the second-round lead in the pro-am event.
The 20-year-old closed with two birdies in a row at St Andrews to shoot a seven-under-par 65 for an 11-under total of 133, the same score as Scotland’s Richie Ramsay (66) and McIlroy’s fellow Northern Irishman Michael Hoey (66).
World number 24 McIlroy recovered from a three-putt bogey on 16 by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt on the formidable ‘Road Hole’ 17th and driving the par-four 18th before safely two-putting.
He also birdied the last two holes on the final day here two years ago to earn his European Tour card. This time round he could leap from third to first in the Race to Dubai money-list by finishing second in the tournament.
McIlroy is playing with his father Gerry in the pro-am event which is being held on three courses, a present for his dad’s 50th birthday on Monday.
“It will be a great distraction (from the money-list bid) playing with my dad,” he told reporters after a round containing six birdies, one eagle and a solitary bogey.
“I think it will be an advantage because I won’t be thinking about the Race to Dubai. Just to walk up the 18th on the last day with my dad would be pretty special.”
Former U.S. amateur champion Ramsay is trying to change his fortunes in his rookie year. He has missed 14 cuts and is down in 143rd place on Europe’s money-list.
Hoey also has an impressive pedigree, having won the 2001 British amateur championship.
It took the 30-year-old until this season to make his professional breakthrough by winning the Portuguese Open.
McIlroy’s rivals for the number one spot in Europe on Sunday, Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher, are well adrift.
Westwood is seven off the lead and Fisher 10 behind.