McIlroy gets to 13 under at US Open

June 17, 2011 - 11:44 AM
APTOPIX US Open Golf

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, reacts to his eagle on the eighth hole during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Friday, June 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Rory McIlroy has birdied the 16th and 17th holes to reach 13-under par at the U.S. Open, the lowest score at any point in the 111-year history of the tournament.

McIlroy hit his second shot on the par-4 17th at Congressional on Friday to 8 feet and made the putt that put him at 13 under. He eclipsed a record held by Tiger Woods (2000) and Gil Morgan (1992), both reaching 12 under at U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach.

McIlroy is searching for his first major victory. He leads Y.E. Yang by 10 shots with two holes to play in the second round. Yang had an afternoon tee time.

McIlroy eagled the par-4 eighth hole when he holed out from the fairway to get to 10 under.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Rory McIlroy backed up his surprising eagle with five straight pars and a birdie to move to 11 under at the U.S. Open, good for an eight-shot lead more than halfway through the second round Friday.

McIlroy holed out from the fairway on No. 8 for an eagle that put him at double digits under par. With four holes left to play, he had still not made a bogey in the tournament.

He led Zach Johnson, Kyung-tae Kim and Y.E. Yang by eight and was nearing record territory on a couple of fronts.

No player has been better than 9 under through two rounds of the U.S. Open and nobody has led by more than six at the halfway point.

McIlroy shot 6-under 65 to open the tournament Thursday. His three-shot lead after the first day was the biggest opening-round cushion at the U.S. Open in 35 years.

McIlroy had hit 29 of 32 greens and even when he missed, it wasn't a problem. He saved par from the bunker on 11 with a 10-foot putt. On No. 14, he increased his lead to eight by hitting his approach to four feet and making the birdie, his ninth of the tournament.

Conditions couldn't get much better for a U.S. Open, even though McIlroy was among the few taking advantage. Soft greens and forgiving rough took some of the bite out of Congressional, a monster course at more than 7,500 yards. McIlroy's first tee shot went slightly left into that rough but he had no problem wedging it out and onto the front of the green.

His day was making Johnson's low round look trivial in comparison. The former Masters champion made eagle on the par-5 sixth to briefly get within four shots. But less than 30 minutes later, McIlroy matched that eagle to move to 10 under.

McIlroy's shot on No. 8 bounced twice near the back of the green, then spun backward and slowly rolled into the hole. He thrust his arms in the air and Phil Mickelson, playing in the same threesome, applauded.

British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and American Ryan Palmer were at 2 under, hoping they could make up some ground in the afternoon, when they tee off. The world's top three players, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, also had afternoon tee times and a lot of ground to make up. Donald and Kaymer were 3 over, one shot better than Westwood.

McIlroy, who blew a four-shot lead in the final round of the Masters two months ago, knows how much work there is to do to close out one of these tournaments. The big question is whether anyone will be anywhere near him come Sunday.

"It's always nice to shoot a good first round at any tournament, let alone a major," he said after his round Thursday. "But no relief. I know I'm playing well. I know this golf course."

After spraying the ball around the course during his opening round, Mickelson straightened things out and made four birdies to get to even for the tournament. But that still meant he was losing ground to McIlroy.

The day's other eagle came from Ty Tryon, who holed out from a fairway bunker on No. 1. A nice reprieve from an otherwise dreadful week. Tryon was 15 over for the tournament, in 155th place.