Inspired McIlroy races into Crans contention
Rory McIlroy showed he will be the man to beat over the weekend at the European Masters as he surged into title contention.
Just five days after winning the Tour Championship to collect a $15million FedEx Cup jackpot, McIlroy fired a seven-under-par 63 to climb into a share of second place in Crans-sur-Sierre.
At the impressive course in the Swiss Alps, Malaysian Gavin Green earned a one-shot lead on 11 under par after adding a 64 to his opening 65.
The 25-year-old has yet to win on the European Tour but will see this as a chance to break that duck, yet many will fancy big names McIlroy or Tommy Fleetwood, with the Ryder Cup team-mates both poised to strike from 10 under.
Fleetwood had a second straight 65 to reach that mark, while Andres Romero of Argentina took a rather more unorthodox route, following a 69 on Thursday with a 61 - the lowest round of his career.
Australian Wade Ormsby and Austrian Matthias Schwab also reached 10 under.
Surprise front-runner Green was reading little into the scores at halfway, the world number 209 taking his mind off his lofty position on the leaderboard by preferring to focus on the spectacular scenery.
"The atmosphere and views are amazing. In Malaysia we don't have anything like this," Green said. "I've been here a couple of times now and the views never get old. I'm just trying to enjoy it and play as well as I can."
McIlroy had three birdies and an eagle from the 14th to 17th holes, powering through the field, and the Northern Irishman is savouring his first playing visit to Switzerland in eight years.
"I'm excited to give myself another chance to win," McIlroy said, according to the European Tour website.
"I really wanted to come here and play well.
"I've got two weeks off coming up, hopefully two more good days of golf left in me, give myself a chance to win this tournament, which I've had a great chance to win before. I would love to add this title to the list."
Danny Willett, Thomas Bjorn, Andy Sullivan and Luke Donald were among the players on level par through 36 holes, missing the cut by one shot.