Rory's back in the groove! McIlroy shoots five-under second round to close in on Texas lead
23:55 GMT, 5 April 2013
00:06 GMT, 6 April 2013
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Rory McIlroy allayed fears about the state of his game by storming into contention at the Valero Texas Open.
With the Masters just days away, the world No 2 shot a five-under-par 67 to follow his even-par opening round, and move three behind leader Billy Horschel in San Antonio.
The Northern Irishman was a late entry for this tournament as he desperately sought to play himself into form for Augusta, and by the looks of today's performance he has done precisely that.
Strong showing: Rory McIlroy carded a five-under round of 67 to finish three shots off the lead in San Antonio
Improvement: McIlroy started the day at level par after his opening round 72
He finished off with birdies at 16, 17 and 18 to make an already good round a quite excellent one, tying with Charley Hoffman and KJ Choi for the lowest score of the day.
McIlroy had a 25-foot eagle putt at the last to go into a share of the lead, and he put it close, but he would have settled for five under at the start of the round and made sure of that by tapping in from inside a foot.
Charley Hoffman, Daniel Summerhays and Steven Bowditch were in the clubhouse on six under, before back-to-back birdies from Horschel moved him two clear at eight-under.
In his stride: McIlroy entered at late notice
Leader: Billy Horschel moved to eight-under-par
Meanwhile, Ian Poulter’s attempt to use the Valero Texas Open to help get ready for the Masters threatened to leave him even more short of confidence instead.
Europe’s Ryder Cup hero, who has slipped outside the world top 10, went almost immediately to the driving range to do more work after his second round 75 left him one over for the tournament, just inside the cut.
Poulter tweeted: ‘On the range giving myself a talking to. I was utter dog meat today. Absolutely disgraceful off the tee. But I can still win. No mistakes.’
Struggle: Ian Poulter carded a round of 75 to end day two one-over-par
Later he added: ‘I hit two out of 14
fairways. That’s just simply s***. I’m so mad it’s crazy. Just hit 100
drives on the range and sorted it.’
He drove into the rough at the first hole and missed two short putts, then it got worse as he double-bogeyed the second.