Published Saturday, 01 September 2012
Rory McIlroy tees off from the fourth hole during the second round. (© Getty)
The USPGA champion began the day three shots off the lead after carding an opening round 65 on Friday, and quickly set about closing the gap on front-runners, picking up five shots on his opening nine holes.
Starting from the 10th, the Holywood man birdied the 12th, 14th and 15th holes before securing a superb birdie on the par-5 18th.
After another birdie at the first took him two shots clear of the field, McIlroy suffered a minor wobble with back-to-back bogeys on the second and third holes seeing him drop back to 10-under.
However, those mistakes were cancelled out with two consecutive birdies at holes four and five saw him move back to 12-under.
The 23-year-old maintained a steady pace to close out the round with a string of pars to remain two clear of the chasing pack heading into Sunday's final round.
"Now that I'm in the tournament, I just want to play as well as I can and maybe reassess things going into the last day," the world number one said.
"But I was very happy with the two scores that I've got already and know that I need to go out and play just as good tomorrow to give myself a chance going into Monday.
"I got off to a nice start and sort of just kept the momentum going. Everything seemed to work pretty well out there.
"I felt like I drove the ball a bit better today and hit more fairways, which gave me some more opportunities to make birdies, and I was putting well enough to take a few of those."
Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen was McIlroy's closest challenger on 11 under after also carding a 65, while American duo Ryan Moore and Tiger Woods were another shot back after rounds of 68.