Rory McIlroy is top of the world again – in tandem with fellow Irish major winner Graeme McDowell as they lead the way in China.

The Irish pair are joint-leaders alongside Australia at the World Cup of golf at the Mission Hills resort on Hainan Island.

The Ulster duo, two behind at the start of the second day’s play, shot a four under par 68 in the foursomes to share the lead with Aussies Richard Green and Brendon Jones on 13 under par.

“Today was good,” McIlroy told reporters afterwards. “Both of us are very pleased about the score that we ended up shooting today. Anything in the 60s in the foursomes format is a very reasonable score out there.

“There is still a lot of golf to be played this week so it will be nice to get out there tomorrow again and enjoy the fourballs and be aggressive and make a few more birdies. We are very pleased with how today went and we are looking forward to the weekend.”

McDowell complimented McIlroy on his form as the Irish pair look to improve on a joint second place finish two years ago.

“Alternate shot is a very difficult format. Rory really putted well today, which kept things together,” said McDowell.

“I’ve struggled a little bit on the greens the last couple of days but I was happy the way I swung the club in general today again and Rory is playing lovely.

“We are very, very happy with that performance today, four under par in this format is a pretty good effort.”

Scotland’s Martin Laird and Stephen Gallacher are next best on 12 under after a second round 69 with New Zealand, Spain and the United States all tied for fourth on 10.

England’s Ian Poulter and Justin Rose remain within touching distance on nine under par following a 69 on Friday.