Rory McIlroy hot on the heels of Adam Scott after superb 65 at Doral
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 05/03/16 8:18pm
Rory McIlroy produced a superb all-round performance as he stormed into contention at the WGC-Cadillac Championship with a second-round 65 at Doral.
McIlroy was five off the lead overnight after he double-bogeyed his final hole on day one, but he responded positively with eight birdies and just one bogey propelling him to eight under - two shots adrift of halfway leader Adam Scott.
After struggling to adapt to his new cross-handed putting grip in the first round, McIlroy found his form on the Blue Monster greens and needed only 24 putts - nine fewer than on the opening day.
The world No 3 opened with a birdie before giving the shot back when his five-foot par putt lipped out at the second, but that proved to be his only blemish of the round and he ignited his charge up the leaderboard by reeling off four consecutive birdies from the fifth.
McIlroy turned in 32 and then did well to save par from seven and nine feet respectively at the 10th and 11th, and he got further putts to drop for birdie at 12 and 15 before rolling in a confident 20 footer for his eighth gain of the round.
His birdie at the 15th briefly gave him a share of the lead, but Scott continued his magnificent recent form as he opened up a two-stroke advantage with three birdies over the last four holes capping an excellent 66.
Scott, who won last week's Honda Classic a week after finishing just a shot behind Bubba Watson at the Northern Trust Open, carded four birdies in an outward 33 and picked up another shot at the 12th before he bunkered his approach to 14 and bogeyed.
But the Australian bounced back with three consecutive birdies and a solid par at the last to close on 10 under, while defending champion Dustin Johnson fired the low round of the second day to earn a share of second with McIlroy.
Johnson was out of sorts in his opening 72, but he cruised to the turn in 33 and made five birdies over the back nine to complete a flawless eight-birdie 64.
In-form Englishman Danny Willett emerged as the early second-round leader when he birdied the first two holes, although he bogeyed the sixth and ninth either side of a birdie at eight.
But he was mistake-free on the inward half, holing from 13 feet for birdie at the 12th and getting up-and-down from sand for another at 16 as he returned a workmanlike 69 to get to seven under par.
Riviera champion Watson is a shot further behind alongside Charley Hoffman after the left-hander fired a solid four-birdie 69, but Paul Casey and Phil Mickelson were both left to rue poor finishes as they slipped to five under.
Casey started at the 10th and birdied three of his first four holes, and he picked up further shots at the 18th, first and third before a poor drive cost him a bogey at seven, and he pulled his second into the water at the next hole to run up a bogey-six.
Mickelson was two clear of the field on nine under after a sparkling run of four consecutive birdies from the fifth, but he lost his shape after the turn and three-putted the 13th before carving his tee-shot into water at the short 15th and walking off with a five.
Another shot went at 17 when a poor drive forced him to pitch back onto the fairway, and a closing par completed a disappointing 72 which left him five strokes adrift of the leader.
Jordan Spieth's erratic form continued as he offset four birdies with as many bogeys, and the world No 1 missed a five-foot putt for par at the last in a 72 which left him on three under, while world No 2 Jason Day limped to a 74 to slide to two over par.