Rory McIlroy hits seven birdies to surge into contention

World No 2 looks to have found form ahead of Masters after great second round in Texas

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The Independent Online

Rory McIlroy shot a five-under-par 67 yesterday to charge into contention for victory at the Valero Texas Open after day two.

The world No 2 was just one shot off the lead with several players still on the course. Nevertheless, McIlroy heads into the weekend having dramatically improved his consistency from his first round on Thursday when he carded a level-par 72 and recorded three bogeys in a row.

Yesterday McIlroy shot seven birdies to leave him nicely placed behind clubhouse leaders Daniel Summerhays, Steven Bowditch and Charley Hoffman, with Billy Horschel also tied for the lead on six-under after 15 holes.

Among the clutch of players a shot back alongside McIlroy were former major champions Jim Furyk and Retief Goosen, who – like the Northern Irishman – were both looking to run into some form ahead of next week’s Masters.

Furyk followed up Thursday’s 69 with a round of 70 to sit five under, and Goosen went one better with a 69 to sit in the same group.

A bogey at the last was the only blemish on Furyk’s card which contained three birdies while Goosen hit five birdies and two bogeys. Hoffman carded six birdies and one bogey to move into the lead with a 67. KJ Choi had a bogey-free 67 to sit one shot back while Brendon de Jonge was also on five under after three birdies in his final six holes powered him to a 69.

Summerhays shot a 69 to set the early pace. Starting on the back nine, the American bogeyed the 11th before a run of three birdies saw him surge up the leaderboard. A further birdie was to come on the first to move him to six under and two further bogeys and birdies saw him finish the day that way.

Englishman David Lynn had looked on course to trouble the leaders on four under through 14 holes but a double-bogey at the last saw him slip back.

Overnight leader Matt Bettencourt could not repeat his form from the first day as he shot a 73. The American, starting on the 10th, birdied his first two holes but dropped a shot on the 12th before recording further birdies on the first and third. The wheels came off from there however, as Bettencourt dropped four shots on his final six holes to drop back to four under.

Further down the leaderboard, Ian Poulter and Charl Schwartzel were just above the cut-line at one over after shooting rounds of 75 and 73 respectively.