McIlroy leads in Memphis as form builds ahead of US Open
Rory McIlroy is setting the pace at the half-way stage of the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis.
Rory McIlroy secured the half-way lead at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis as he looks to rediscover some form going into the defence of his US Open title next week.
The young Northern Irishman came into the tournament having missed three consecutive cuts at the Memorial Tournament, the Players Championship and BMW PGA Championship, and he opted to play in Memphis in order to turn his game around going into The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
McIlroy hit a five-under round of 65 on day two, which included an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys, to equal his lowest PGA Tour round of 2012 and show his recent slump could be coming to an end.
A birdie at two and an eagle three on the third ensured he got his second round off to a strong start, but it looked like unravelling following the turn as he hit consecutive bogeys at 12 and 13.
McIlroy did well to keep his head high and hit three birdies in the final four holes to ensure he goes into the weekend with a one-shot lead over a trio of American stars, Kevin Stadler, Jeff Maggert and JB Holmes.
After the way McIlroy dominated the US Open 12 months ago he will go into the second major of the year among the favourites, but the statistics show that no player has ever won a PGA Tour event and followed it up the next week by winning the US Open.
But, after all the recent struggles, he is confident his game is coming together at just the right time and he has impetus going not only into the weekend in Memphis, but also further ahead to The Olympic Club.
“I saw a lot of positive signs with my ball striking. Hit a lot of good iron shots and drivers. So that was something that I was really working on the last couple of weeks and feels like it’s coming together for me,” said McIlroy.
“For the time being, my mind is focused on trying to win this golf tournament.”
He added: “To finish strong the way I did was great, and it gives me momentum. So excited to be in this position for the weekend. This is really what I wanted heading into next week.”
Chad Campbell, John Merrick and Kevin Kisner sit tied for third, two shots behind McIlroy, and Irish golfer Padraig Harrington – who is 14/1 to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic – is among a quartet a further shot behind alongside Seung-yul Noh, Davis Love III and Ken Duke.