McIlroy back on top
Rory McIlroy's second round 65 has given him a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the St Jude Classic as he sits on seven-under par.
The 23-year-old's form had dipped alarmingly in recent weeks with three consecutive missed cuts but he was in no danger of missing out on the weekend in Memphis with a superb five-under par round on Friday.
The Northern Irishman carded a two-under 68 on Thursday and looked to have rediscovered his touch and that was confirmed during a second round that included five birdies, one eagle and two bogeys.
He began with a birdie and an eagle in the first three holes but dropped shots at the 12th and 13th looked to have soured the round, although three birdies in his final four holes redressed the balance and left the youngster in good spirits at the conclusion of his 18 holes.
"The goal this week was obviously to see some improvement, to get some competitive rounds and get into contention and I'm right there heading into the weekend," he said. "It's nice to see my name on that part of the leaderboard. It's not nice when you're struggling to make the cut on a Friday afternoon."
McIlroy will begin the defence of his US Open title at the Olympic Club in San Francisco next week and needed a solid outing this week to prepare for the year's second major.
And the Holywood-born star is looking forward to challenging for the title over the weekend to fine-tune his preparations for next Thursday.
"It's going to be a great experience and a great way to prepare for the US Open next week," he added. "I'm happy with how I'm playing and with how I'm controlling the golf ball."
McIlroy leads by one from USA trio Jeff Maggert, JB Holmes and Kevin Stadler, with John Merrick, Chad Campbell and Kevin Kisner a shot further back.
Padraig Harrington has enjoyed his first 36 holes in Tennessee and is one of four players on -4 but things did not go so well for Graeme McDowell, who missed the cut on eight-over par.