August 30, 2019 / 7:18 PM / 3 months ago

McIlroy closes gap on halfway leader Green at European Masters

FILE PHOTO: Aug 25, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy reacts after winning the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - World number two Rory McIlroy charged up the leaderboard to grab a share of second place on day two of the European Masters in Crans Montana on Thursday, one shot behind outright leader Gavin Green.

Malaysia’s Green sank eight birdies to sign for a six-under-par 64 and set an overall 11-under target at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, moving past overnight leaders Matthias Schwab and Mike Lorenzo-Vera in the process.

McIlroy, who was four strokes adrift of the leaders after the first round and began his afternoon eight strokes off the pace after the early starters had finished, struck eight birdies and an eagle, offset by three bogeys, to card a seven-under 63.

“Going out this afternoon eight shots off the lead, there are scores out there but you don’t want to push too hard,” McIlroy said.

“Getting myself much closer to the lead going into the weekend was nice. I’m excited to give myself another chance to win. I really wanted to come here and play well.”

Schwab signed for a 67 and was one of the group tied with McIlroy, alongside Andres Romero, Wade Ormsby, and Tommy Fleetwood.

Schwab’s fellow overnight leader Lorenoz-Vera double-bogeyed the fourth and 13th holes and had two bogeys on the fifth and 15th holes to end with a two-over 72 that left him in a tie for 20th place — six strokes behind Green.

“I played well, hit a lot of greens, made some putts. Just kept the ball rolling,” Green said. “The atmosphere and views are amazing. In Malaysia we don’t have anything like this.

“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. That’s all I can ask for.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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