Rory McIlroy on song at Hoylake

McIlroy stretches lead to three shots as he takes advantage of calmer conditions in the afternoon at Hoylake

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy plays through the rough on the fifth hole during day two of the British Open. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy plays through the rough on the fifth hole during day two of the British Open. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire.

Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 17:38

Abandoning the tactics which brought him victory at Royal Liverpool in 2006 proved costly for Tiger Woods in the second round of the British Open on Friday.

Woods famously used his driver just once in 72 holes on his way to a third British Open title eight years ago and was similarly circumspect in an opening 69 on Thursday.

However, wayward drives on the first two holes resulted in the 14-time major winner dropping three shots, despite the later starters again appearing to have the best of the conditions.

Woods pulled his opening drive so badly that it ended up in thick rough to the left of the fairway on the adjacent 18th, from where he missed the green with his approach and hacked his third shot onto the green and off the other side.

From there he chipped on and two-putted for a double bogey, while his drive on the second also found the rough and his approach ran over the back of the green to lead to a bogey.

A run of seven straight pars to the turn left Woods on level par and eight shots adrift of the pace being set by overnight leader Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy had also got off to a slow start with a bogey on the first after overshooting the green with his approach, but reclaimed the lead with a birdie on the fifth after narrowly missing from 40 feet for an eagle.

The former world number one, looking to become only the third player in the modern era after Woods and Jack Nicklaus to win three majors by the age of 25, also holed from 10 feet for birdie on the sixth.

The Northern Irishman then carded another birdie from close range on the eighth, despite the bizarre scenario of having to wait for an errant pheasant to walk across the green.

McIlroy moved three shots clear of the field with a birdie on the par-five 10th, although the sheepish grin on his face suggested he felt he had been somewhat fortunate with his chip from heavy rough to the left of the green. It looked certain he would make it five birdies in seven holes on the next, but surprisingly missed from four feet to remain nine under par.

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