Rory McIlroy back on track at Irish Open

The four-time major champion is five shots behind leader Dale Whitnell after the Englishman carded a second successive 67.

McIlroy is five under par at the halfway point as the Northern Ireland star followed his first round score of 72 with an impressive second day.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Rory McIlroy is back in the hunt to win the Irish Open after recording a second round score of 67 on Friday.

McIlroy is five under par at the halfway point as the Northern Ireland star followed his first round score of 72 with an impressive second day.

The four-time major champion is five shots behind leader Dale Whitnell after the Englishman carded a second successive 67.

McIlroy felt he could have done even better after surging through his first 10 holes in five under before eight successive pars.

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"I got off to a better start and once you do that, you make a couple of birdies early, you start to feel like you can make a few more," McIlroy said.

"The greens were much better this morning than they were yesterday afternoon as well so it felt a little easier to hole putts and that's really what I did."

McIlroy initially had a poor record in the Irish Open and missed the cut for three years in succession.

He won at the K Club in 2016 and donating the prize money to his foundation, which was hosting the event.

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"Everything was just a little bit better today and it just added up to a better score," he added.

"It could have been a little better than what it was, playing the two par fives in even par on the front nine. I missed a couple of chances too, but it was better."

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