Teenager McIlroy in hunt for glory

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The Independent Online

The teenager Rory McIlroy will take inspiration from double Open champion Padraig Harrington as he attempts to win his first European Tour title in the Dunhill Links Championship.

McIlroy looked set to break his duck in the European Masters at the start of last month, taking a four-shot lead into the final round only to lose out to Jean-Francois Lucquin in a play-off.

But the 19-year-old from Northern Ireland is on course to have another chance this weekend after a hugely impressive second round of 69 yesterday at Carnoustie – where he finished leading amateur in the Open last year – left him one shot off the lead.

Austria's Markus Brier shrugged off the bitterly cold conditions to return a 70 at St Andrews and lead on eight under par, one ahead of McIlroy, Germany's Martin Kaymer and Ryder Cup team-mates Soren Hansen and Robert Karlsson.

"Padraig called me over on Wednesday and said 'hard luck' and that he knew how it felt, we've all blown tournaments that we should have won," McIlroy said.

"He's been second on tour 29 times and learnt how to win. He hasn't had a second place for three years. He told me to keep getting experience, get yourself up there again and you'll win. The more you are there the more you will learn and you'll close it out."

McIlroy finished second in this event last year in just his second event after turning professional, earning enough money to secure his European Tour card for 2008.

"I'm doing as well as last year, I would love to repeat that finish and even go better," the former European amateur champion said.

"I'm playing well again this week and I've probably got the easiest course of the three tomorrow."

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