Tokyo Olympics: Team Ireland duo Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry four back and in medal contention
McIlroy carded a five-under 66 and Lowry posted a second-round 65 to move the Team Ireland pair within four shots of halfway leader Xander Schauffele in Japan.
By Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 01/08/21 10:59am
Rory McIlroy feels he's back in the running to challenge for an Olympic medal after moving up the leaderboard during the second round of the Men's Golf Competition.
McIlroy followed an opening-round 69 with a five-under 66 on Friday at Kasumigaseki Country Club, mixing an eagle with five birdies and two bogeys to get within four strokes of halfway leader Xander Schauffele.
The four-time major champion posted back-to-back birdies from the sixth and rolled in an eagle at the par-five eighth, before cancelling out a bogey at the 11th by picking up a shot at the par-four next.
McIlroy took advantage of the par-five 14th and holed a 15-footer at the 17th, only to drop a shot at the last to head into the weekend in the group on seven under.
"The goal today was to sort of get back in touch," McIlroy said. "Sepp [Straka] shooting eight under yesterday showed everyone what was out there.
Schauffele holds halfway lead in Japan
Report from the second round of the Men's Olympic Golf Competition, where Xander Schauffele moved ahead.
"I mean that was my thing, I just wanted to get into contention going into the weekend and at least feel like I was still a part of the tournament and I've done that.
"I sort of played similarly to how I played yesterday, I just played the par-fives better. I played the par-fives in even par yesterday and I played them in three under today and that's the difference between the two scores."
McIlroy is joined on seven under by Team Ireland teammate Shane Lowry, who carded a second-round 65, increasing the possibility of the pair being grouped together for the third round.
"It would be cool," Lowry said. "You always say you want to play with the best in the world and compete against the best in the world.
"Between us, we're definitely trying to produce at least one medal for the team. It's not like we would be out there helping each other, we would be out there kind competing against each other, but it would be nice to be playing with a friend and a really good golfer."
Schauffele played his last five holes in five under to close a round-of-the-day 63 and move a shot clear of Mexico's Carlos Ortiz, with the American holing his final putt just seconds before play was suspended for the day due to the threat of lightning.
"I just kind of got in a nice flow there at the end," Schauffele said. "Kind of one of those situations where I wish I could play some more holes. It was nice to sort of make that last putt on 18 before they blew that horn."