McIlroy gaining ground

Rory McIlroy was bouncing back superbly from the nightmare of his second round 80 at the third round of The Open in St Andrews today.

The 21-year-old – who had equalled the lowest round in major history on Thursday with a 63 – was four under for the day and five under overall with two to play.

Meanwhile Ryder Cup team-mates Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia were among those trying to increase the pressure on runaway leader Louis Oosthuizen.

Oosthuizen held a five-shot lead over 1989 champion Mark Calcavecchia when the delayed second round was completed this morning, the South African making the most of his early start on Friday before the bad weather struck.

The 27-year-old added a 67 to his opening 65 for a halfway total of 132, 12 under par, setting a clubhouse target which was never in danger of being threatened once winds gusting over 40mph whipped around the Old Course in the afternoon.

Oosthuizen was still an hour from teeing off when Stenson became the first player to climb onto the upper reaches of the leaderboard, the Swede going to the turn in 32.

Birdies at the first, fifth, eighth and ninth took Stenson to six under and into a share of third place, while Garcia had bogeyed the second but bounced back by chipping in for an eagle on the fifth and picking up a birdie on the sixth as well.

The Spanish star was still eight shots off the pace on four under, but scoring conditions were undoubtedly easier than yesterday, with English pair Robert Rock and Ross Fisher in the clubhouse on three under after rounds of 67 and 68 respectively.

Both could have done even better as well, Rock missing from inside three feet for par on the 17th and Fisher running up a double bogey on the same hole when his approach went over the green, bounced on the road, over a wall and out of bounds.

Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie was another to fall foul of the 18th, a double-bogey six contributing to a round of 74 to leave the Scot joint 70th of the 77 players to make the cut.

The par-five fifth had given up a number of eagles - and almost an albatross for Malaysia's Danny Chia - but Tiger Woods found trouble there to run up a bogey six.

Woods pushed his second shot into a thick gorse bush and, after taking a penalty drop and pitching to 12ft, missed the par putt to drop back to three under.

Playing partner Darren Clarke had bogeyed the first but birdied the fifth to get back to four under, while Garcia was one better off after a birdie on the ninth took him out in 33.

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