Fox shares Irish Open lead as McIlroy stumbles
Ryan Fox remains on track in his bid to secure Open Championship qualification, as he shares the half-way lead at the Irish Open in a three-way tie that includes fellow Carnoustie hopeful Matthieu Pavon.
Fox had sat clear atop the leaderboard by one stroke following Thursday's opening round at Ballyliffin Golf Club.
The New Zealander shot a three-under 69 on Friday to reach eight under for the tournament and remain in top spot, although he now shares it with Frenchman Pavon, who carded a four-under 68, and Erik van Rooyen.
The South African, already qualified for The Open, produced the lowest round of the day, a seven-under 65, to get himself in prime position ahead of moving day.
Six birdies in 12 holes— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 6, 2018
Erik Van Rooyen is making a real charge out there. pic.twitter.com/K3Ogovg2gB
The leading three players who are not already exempt and who finish in the top 10 and ties will earn a place in The Open at Carnoustie from July 19-22.
One of them is Sweden's Joakim Lagergren, who matched Pavon's 68 to sit outright fourth at seven under.
Two other players hoping to be in Scotland for the third major of the year are England's Sam Horsfield and Van Rooyen's countryman Zander Lombard. Together with the qualified Danny Willet, they form a trio tied for fifth at six under.
It was a frustrating second round for Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irish world number eight cancelling out three birdies with four bogeys, a one-over 73 leaving him tied 30th at one under overall.
Shane Lowry and Simon Thornton are the leading players from the Republic of Ireland still involved at two under, but their compatriot Padraig Harrington was joined by Matt Fitzpatrick and Rafael Cabrera-Bello in missing the cut.