Rory McIlroy plays down second round errors after bright start in Mexico
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 23/02/19 1:51pm
Rory McIlroy remained happy with his position at the halfway stage of the WGC-Mexico Championship despite his mid-round stutter on day two.
McIlroy stretched his overnight lead from one shot to four when he birdied three of the first four holes, but he found water with his second to the long sixth and ran up a bogey-six before worse was to follow on the ninth.
His approach settled in the fringe and left him a tricky, downhill birdie putt from 15 feet but, after his effort wandered four feet long, he then lipped out twice to card his second six of the day - this time for double-bogey.
But he was happy with how he "steadied the ship" after the turn as he closed with eight pars and a lone birdie at 14, although he did miss another short putt at the long 15th and admitted afterwards he played the par-fives "terribly".
McIlroy's 70 left him two strokes adrift of 2017 champion Dustin Johnson heading into the weekend, and he insisted he was not unduly concerned at seeing his large lead turn into a two-shot deficit.
"The only time it matters when you're leading is after the 72nd hole," he said. "There is so much golf still to play. This tournament hasn't even started yet, so I'm in a good position.
WATCH: Tiger's bunker thriller
Tiger Woods pulled off one of the shots of the year as he almost holed a high cut from the sand in Mexico
"I played pretty well over the first couple days. Just going to try to play similarly over the weekend and hopefully take advantage of the par-fives and some of the shorter par-fours and we'll see where that puts me at the end of the week.
"I feel like I did most things pretty well today, but I maybe wasn't quite as good on the greens. I think that hour and a half difference teeing off at 11.30am compared to nearly 1.00pm, it makes a difference, just that extra traffic out there."
Tommy Fleetwood, meanwhile, enjoyed a rare feat as he became the first player since 2009 to start a round with a pair of eagles that set him on the way to a 65 as he climbed to seven under for the tournament.
The Englishman knocked a superb tee-shot to 20 feet at the par-four first and rattled in the putt for a two, and he then pitched in from just short of the green at the second to race to four under after two holes.
"It's not something that happens very often, is it? I'll take it, though," he said. "It's a good way to start, and a good way to get a little bit of momentum.
"I think it was good because I didn't finish very well yesterday. I hit a couple of bad shots towards the end and dropped, so it was nice to actually catapult myself up there early on and kind of just go from there and kind of keep moving forward."