Florida, March 16: Rory McIlroy catapulted himself into a share of the lead alongside Tommy Fleetwood at the halfway stage of The Players Championship.
Four-time major champion McIlroy carded a seven-under-par 65 to be three strokes clear with Fleetwood following Friday's second round.
McIlroy's round was one of the best of the day, the former world number one birdieing the 17th to put him in a tie for the lead with Fleetwood at TPC Sawgrass.
The Northern Irishman – who opened with a 67 on Thursday – went out in 31 after he eagled the 16th to be 12 under through 36 holes in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Round 2 is complete.
1. @McIlroyRory, -12— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 15, 2019
1. @TommyFleetwood1, -12
3. @JimFuryk, -9
3. @IanJamesPoulter, -9
3. @HarmanBrian, -9
3. @Abraham_Ancer, -9
7. @K_Kisner, -8
7. @JDayGolf, -8
7. @K_M_Mitchell, -8@THEPLAYERSChamp leaderboard: https://t.co/xYdhELrcLf pic.twitter.com/AnnyRQW3CS
Englishman Fleetwood had an eagle himself on Friday, but bogeys at the ninth and 15 dropped his round to a still respectable five-under 67.
While the 28-year-old has never won on the PGA Tour, he is playing well and coming off a top-10 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Jim Furyk (64), Ian Poulter (66), Brian Harman (69) and Abraham Ancer (66) are three shots off the pace heading into the weekend, with 2016 champion Jason Day (66) a stroke further back.
Dustin Johnson is one shot back of Day in a tie for 10th at seven under – along with the likes of Jon Rahm (68) – after scoring a 68.
Elsewhere on course, 14-time major winner Tiger Woods ended the day in a tie for 39th at three under.
Had it not been for a quadruple bogey at the infamous island green at 17, the American star would have been just five shots back of McIlroy and Fleetwood in a tie for 10th.
Woods signed for a three-under-par 71, following his first-round 70 at the tournament.
Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth's woes continued after missing the cut for the third time in his past eight PGA Tour events on Friday.
Spieth recorded a three-under-par 69 but his overall total of one over was not enough to see him continue into the weekend, with Phil Mickelson (74), also missing the cut.