Rory McIlroy leads as Irish Open suspended for second time

Rory McIlroy leads as Irish Open suspended for second time

Tournament host Rory McIlroy got everything he wanted apart from the weather as he moved into pole position to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for the first time at The K Club.

McIlroy had missed the cut in his home event for the last three years, but added a second round of 70 to his opening 67 to head into the third round just a shot off the lead shared by Masters champion Danny Willett and Scotland's Marc Warren.

And, despite failing to engage the extra gear he felt necessary to claim a first win of the season, the four-time major winner found himself top of the leaderboard with five holes to play before play was suspended for the second time due to bad weather.

After Willett had missed from three feet for par on the second, McIlroy's two-putt birdie on the par-five fourth gave him the outright lead for the first time, although Willett soon birdied the same hole to get back on level terms.

However, the world number nine then failed to get up and down from right of the sixth green and drove into the water on the seventh to card back-to-back bogeys, leaving McIlroy out in front.

Willett had just teed off on the 10th when the siren sounded to suspend play due to the threat of lightning in the area, with McIlroy missing a long eagle putt across the green in the group ahead.

Play eventually resumed after a delay of two hours and twenty minutes and McIlroy wasted no time in tapping in for his second birdie of the day to move to nine under and extend his lead to three shots.

Unfortunately, only 39 minutes of play was possible before another suspension, McIlroy running the length of the par-three 14th to mark his ball in the fringe after the siren sounded again.

Willett remained three shots behind with Scotland's Russell Knox and South Africa's Richard Sterne another stroke adrift, Knox making a birdie on the 16th after his approach hit rocks on the edge of a water hazard but bounced forward on to the green.

Rory McIlroy leads as Irish Open suspended for second time

Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello had been six under par with two holes to play only to find water off the tee on the 17th to run up a double bogey before the first suspension.

And the world number 30, who beat McIlroy in the third-fourth place play-off in the WGC-Dell Match Play in March, then bogeyed the last on the resumption to joint France's Gregory Bourdy and Romain Wattel in the clubhouse lead on three under.

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