Friday, 03 August 2018
Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy was a happy man after closing his second round with back-to-back birdies to sit just three shots off the lead at the halfway stage of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

The Northern Irishman, who won this event in 2014, reached the turn in 33 after carding three birdies and a single bogey on his front nine on day two.

Afternoon starter McIlroy dropped another shot at the tenth but made amends on the final two holes, holing his bunker shot at the 17th before sending his approach at the last to within five feet of the cup to get to eight under par.

He said: "It was nice to finish like that.

"I feel like my patience was rewarded.

"I was getting frustrated out there with how I was playing but that finish at the last couple of holes makes up for it and I'm right there going into the weekend."

Speaking about his last two holes McIlroy, who is in a tie for sixth alongside Si Woo Kim, added: "It (the birdie at the 17th) was a bonus. I had a terrible tee-shot off the 17th tee and got away with it. I rode my luck a little bit today.

"It was nice to end with a shot like that (at the 18th). I worked on that yesterday afternoon on the range and it was nice to finally see a couple pay off."

China's Haotong Li is also in contention after two rounds in Akron after he celebrated his 23rd birthday with an eagle in a second-round 67.

Li began the day four shots behind first-round leader Ian Poulter but set about closing that gap with two birdies on his front nine on Friday morning.

The two-time European Tour winner picked up another shot immediately after the turn to get to seven under before firing an eagle from around eight feet at the par-five second.

Li closed his round with a birdie and three bogeys in his final seven holes to head into the weekend in a share of eighth place on seven under par.

He said: "It was a pretty good birthday. I'm getting old - 23. 

"I can't believe that."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1THOMAS, JustinUSA18-15
2STANLEY, KyleUSA18-11
T3OLESEN, ThorbjørnDEN18-10
T3JOHNSON, DustinUSA18-10
5KOEPKA, BrooksUSA18-9
T6WISE, AaronUSA18-8

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