McIlroy’s performance hard to match

Rory McIlroy’s record-breaking performance in day two of the US Open left contenders behind as he raced to a six-shot lead.

The 22-year-old Northern Irishman drew great attention yesterday when he took the lead by three shots after opening with a round of six-under par 65 at Congressional Golf Club.

Day two on the 7,575-yard, par 71 course saw McIlroy leave his competitors considering second place when he carded five-under-par 66 and set his tournament score to 11-under par. “I’ve played some of the best golf I’ve ever played,” McIlroy said.

McIlroy is yet to capitalise on strong, early leads as South Africans have grabbed victories from him in the last two majors, with Louis Oosthuizen taking the Open Championship after McIlroy opened with a round of 63 and Charl Schwartzel closing like a freight train on a cracking McIlroy in the Masters.

The best score ever made in 36 holes at the US Open really sets up the Northern Ireland youngster to win his first major. His focus seems sharper than ever: “I’m halfway there, but there’s still a long way to go,” he said after finishing day two.

McIlroy managed to take advantage of greens made soft by overnight rain. With sunny skies he went four-under par on his first nine holes of day two, and backed his start with three birdies on 14, 16, and 17.

A double-bogey on the 18th hole was the only flaw in a superb round, offering hope to a field chasing a score that reached 10-under par in 26 holes, the fastest double-digits below par in US Open history.

The setback on the 18th will not stop McIlroy from taking the lead as far as he can. “I have to still play aggressively. And that’s really the main thing, even if you get four or five ahead of the field, six ahead of the field or whatever, you’re trying to get seven ahead, eight ahead, 10 ahead, whatever, you’re just trying to keep going,” he said.

Schwartzel and Oosthuizen barely held on to the top end of the leaderboard after great opening rounds: Schwartzel went three-over 74 to be in a share of 14th on even-par 142.

Oosthuizen was also on 142 after he fought back from a disastrous opening nine – four bogeys and a double spoiled his single birdie for him to turn in 39, but he picked up two more birdies on his way in to card a 73.

Rory Sabbatini made the cut at three-over for 36 holes, as did Retief Goosen at four-over, but Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman and Christo Greyling all missed out.

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