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Rory McIlroy dominates again as Tiger Woods disappoints

Tiger needed a birdie at 18 to earn the right to play the weekend
Tiger needed a birdie at 18 to earn the right to play the weekend

Rory McIlroy shot a second 66 in two days to take a large lead at the halfway stage at Hoylake whilst Tiger Woods disappointed once again.

Tiger Woods needed a closing birdie just to make the cut after a frustrating afternoon.

Rory McIlroy banished the second round troubles that have plagued his season to forge clear in the Open Championship at Hoylake.

Despite an early wobble courtesy of a bogey at the opening hole, McIlroy proved to be in complete control once more and carded a second consecutive 66 to open up a four-shot half way lead.

American Dustin Johnson is now the man doing the chasing as his 65, the low round so far this week, propelled him into sole second on eight-under par.

A group of six players share third spot on six-under par after another day of superb scoring at Hoylake.

Francesco Molinari (70), Sergio Garcia (70) and Rickie Fowler (69) consolidated their places while Ryan Moore, Louis Oosthuizen (both 68) and Charl Schwartzel (67) made strong moves on day two.

The presence of the two South African major champions, and the threat of gusting winds and rain on Saturday will ensure McIlroy and Johnson are not eyeing up a duel just yet.

The golfing world waited in anticipation for McIlroy to get underway just before 2.30pm on Friday.

With some horrific second round scoring this season the 25-year-old looked to feel added pressure, bogeying from close range on the first hole.

After steadying the ship with three pars, back-to-back birdies on the 5th and 6th lit the touch paper for another flawless back nine.

Birdies at the 10th and 15th were just reward for his sparkling approach play, and in truth there could have been more had the putter performed.

After failing to birdie the par-five 16th, McIlroy launched a near 400-yard drive down the 17th and duly picked up a shot.

Another birdie followed at the last to leave McIlroy on -12 heading into the weekend.

Like McIlroy, Johnson has carded just a solitary bogey in the opening 36 holes.

The 30-year-old matched McIlroy's monstrous drive down 17 as he also picked up a brace of birdies on the closing holes to distance himself from the chasers.

A flawless seven birdies on day two, Johnson will partner McIlroy in round three.

Johnson could seek to unsettle McIlroy's game plan by launching some of his trademark booming drives and drawing his rival into a gun show.

Former Masters champion Schwartzel closed with a hat-trick of birdies for the second day running.

That allowed him draw alongside compatriot and 2010 Open champion Oosthuizen.

Frenchman Victor Dubuisson also closed with three straight birdies en route to a 66 and T12 spot overall on four-under par.

A shot further back is world number one Adam Scott.

Playing in the slightly tougher morning conditions on Friday, the Aussie battled hard and birdied the final two holes for a 73.

Another South African, George Coetzee, lit up the morning play with a run of birdies on the back nine that allowed him into a brief share of the lead.

He is just inside the top ten on five-under par alongside Jim Furyk and Scotland's Marc Warren, who shot 68 on day two.

Justin Rose and David Howell (both -2) lead the home challenge while Matteo Manassero, second overnight, remains inside the top 20 after a second round 75.

At the half way stage, 30 players are under par.

Tiger Woods needed a closing birdie just to make the cut after a frustrating afternoon.

Woods did not learn the lessons of round one, pulling his opening drive and racking up a double bogey.

Another shot went at the second before a run of 14 straight pars.

The three-time winner drove out of bounds at the 17th and recorded a triple bogey that left him requiring a closing birdie to make the weekend.

A clever up and down ensured Woods will complete all four rounds.

The prospect of McIlroy and Johnson going to toe-to-toe for 18 holes in their current form promises a mouth-watering Saturday at the Open Championship.

Alex Johnson,

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