A year after he walked off the course, Rory McIlroy remains the man to beat in the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida.
The former world number one started his second round poorly on Friday but recovered with six birdies to hold a one shot lead.
It was all in stark contrast to events a year ago when McIlroy’s poor form saw him storm off during the second round of his defence of a title he won in 2012.
Two bogeys in the opening three holes on Friday threatened to derail the Ulsterman but McIlroy went on to shoot a four under par 66.
The 24-year-old leads on 11 under and by one shot from Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge and is three clear of American Russell Henley.
McIlroy insisted: “It is just another second round lead but I’m much more comfortable with everything and I think it shows in the way I’m playing.
“I think it’s a sign of a little more maturity. I’m not trying to force the issue because I’ve made a couple of bogeys early. I knew had some opportunities coming up. I didn’t panic. I just tried to keep playing the way I was.
“Now that I’m happy where my swing is, even if I do hit a loose shot I can get over it much easier and quicker.”
Tiger Woods just made the cut in Florida but major winner Phil Mickelson is on the way home.
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