Rory McIlroy put himself firmly in contention going into the weekend at the 2018 British Open as he shot a second-round 69 in miserable conditions at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland, on Friday.
It was unspectacular but solid from the Northern Irishman as he got to the turn in one-under par thanks to a sole birdie at seven.
On the tougher back nine, McIlroy bogeyed 12 and 15, but he also picked up shots at 10, 13 and 14 to finish on four-under par for the tournament after 36 holes.
ESPN Stats & Info put the former world No. 1's opening two rounds into context:
McIlroy had his chances for birdies on the opening six holes, but he also did well to scramble and save pars at the second and third.
As such, he would have been happy heading to the seventh, where he attacked the pin and drained a fine putt to move to three under.
Another aggressive approach to the 10th with a wedge set up his second birdie of the day, per the European Tour:
But he then gave the shot back at 12 after three-putting from just off the front of the green.
It was a setback, but the four-time major winner hit back in the best possible fashion to briefly tie for the lead with back-to-back birdies.
Per golf writer Jason Sobel, he was playing the conditions well:
A brilliant drive into the par-three 13th set up his two there, and a fine 10-foot putt gave him a four at the par-five 14th after he had driven into a bunker.
McIlroy's second bogey of the round came at 15 as he failed to get up and down having hit his approach short and left of the green.
A level-par finish over the last three holes was more than satisfactory for the world No. 8.
A birdie attempt on the last just lipped out, but the 17th could have cost McIlroy a shot had it not been for a fine up-and-down from in front of the green.
He went into the clubhouse just one off the lead. That could certainly change through Friday afternoon, but he is sure to be in with a chance when play gets under way on Saturday.