McIlroy in familiar territory with commanding lead

Rory McIlroy was in the zone on Friday as he sailed away from the field into a four shot lead in one of his best ever rounds of golf at the British Open.

The former US Open and PGA Championship winner is looking to add the British Open to his collection of major titles.

On one of the hottest days of the year at Hoylake, the Northern Irishman turned in a masterclass of brilliant shot-making combined with precise putting as he took command of the tournament with 36 holes to play.

“I don’t know if I can describe it, it’s just like I have an inner peace on the golf course,” he said in regards to his relaxed demeanour, combined with confident play.

“I’m very comfortable in this position and I’m very comfortable with what I’m doing right now, it’s hard to describe but I wish I could get into it more often,” he quipped after a sparkling round that included seven birdies and just one bogey to leave him sitting pretty at 12-under.

“I think it’s a combination of confidence, being mentally strong, mentally aware of everything.

“But it all comes down to if you’re confident with your game and if you’re in control of your ball out there, it makes things a lot easier.”

Already, comparisons have been made to his dazzling display at the Congressional Club in 2011 when McIlroy led from the opening day to run away with the US Open, his first major title, by eight strokes.

“I’ve been in this position before in major championships but I haven’t been in this position in the Open Championship.

“But to be able to play in front of crowds like that is something you have to enjoy really, but it makes it easier when you are shooting 66s and you are in the lead.

The 25-year-old, won his second major in 2012 when he again destroyed the field in another eight stroke win at the PGA in Kiawah Island, which made him world number one at the time.

That omen is a worrying sign for the chasing pack that is led by American Dustin Johnson who sits on eight under, with a pack of six others a further two shots adrift.

“I’m just really looking forward to the weekend and hopefully continuing the strong play that you’ve seen so far.

“Two majors in the bag is good for my confidence but it’s hard to compare two different courses and different conditions.

“It was just another really solid round of golf and I’ll need two more of those again.”


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