Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy shot a second round 65 to give himself a chance of winning a first trophy of 2013 at the Emirates Australian Open.
The Northern Irishman trails home favourite Adam Scott by two shots at the midway point at the Royal Sydney Golf club after a fine round which contained nine birdies.
The overall leaderboard was also affected by Scott failing to seriously follow up his course record 62 from day one.
"When you see someone like that (Scott) at the top of the leaderboard already with a low score, it's tough not to think about it," McIlroy said.
"It's tough not to sort of press the issue and try and make birdies to catch up with them right away but golf tournaments are long, they're four days, 72 holes and there's a lot of time to chip away at those leads.
"I feel like I'm playing well. I'm hitting the ball well off the tee and giving myself plenty of chances. It was good to see a few more putts go in today.
"As I've said for the last few weeks, the game is feeling much better and I'm much more comfortable with it."
Scott was always unlikely to match his brilliant opening-day score, but he could have wished for a more consistent round.
Gunning for the 'Aussie treble' of this tournament to go alongside his Australian PGA and Australian Masters titles, Scott signed for seven birdies, three bogeys and one double-bogey on an up and down afternoon.
In close attendance at the top of the leaderboard is Richard Green who rests on nine under par overall, with Friday's round of 66 including a hole-in-one on the sixth.
"That shot on the par-three sixth today was a flush golf shot. It's nice to build a bit of confidence from hitting good shots again," said Green.