Rory McIlroy is right back in contention at the Valero Texas Open – less than a week before the Masters at Augusta.

The Ulsterman shot the lowest score of the second round to move just three shots off the lead on five under.

Dubliner Padraig Harrington went in the opposite direction however to finish on three under with Offaly’s Shane Lowry in for the weekend on two under.

McIlroy’s five under par round of 67 offered hope that his problems with his new Nike clubs are behind him.

And it has the world number two in a positive frame of mind ahead of his bid to in a first green jacket.

Three shots adrift of leader Billy Horschel, McIlroy turned on the style when he birdied the final three holes of his second round.

And he was delighted to be back near the top of a leaderboard after a disastrous start to 2013.

He said: “I’m looking forward to getting into contention. I haven’t really been in contention this year and it’ll be nice to get in the mix.

“I want to play well and know if I play well I’ll have a great chance to win.”

Asked about his second round display in San Antonio, he added: “I knew the conditions were good and you had to take advantage of it.

“I played solid, I drove the ball well, hit quite a lot of greens, and made some nice putts coming in. It gets me in a good position going into the weekend.

“I turned in one under par and felt I was playing better than that. I think I was rewarded for my patience out there.

“It was a great way to finish and it’ll make dinner taste nicer and give me a few more hours in bed.

“I’m feeling comfortable with my game. I definitely feel like I made the right decision to come here, and even if I hadn’t been in this position and have been a few shots back I’d still feel the same way.”

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