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Mikko Ilonen (pictured by Getty Images) maintained his two-stroke lead on the second day of the Irish Open, but the Finn has Graeme McDowell breathing down his neck after the home hero shot a superb round of 66.

McDowell had set the early pace with six birdies to climb to eight under par on another glorious day in Cork, but he was overhauled later in the day by Ilonen, who mixed five birdies with two bogeys in his round of 68.

England’s Robert Rock and Frenchman Romain Wattel made it a three-way tie for second place alongside McDowell after signing for respective rounds of 66 and 65.

Unfortunately for the huge crowds at Fota Island Resort, Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy both missed the halfway cut on one over par; but Padraig Harrington is firmly in contention to win his national Open for a second time after carding a round of 67 for a six under par aggregate total.

Key quotes

Mikko Ilonen

“I wanted to get to double digits, so I reached my goal. I got there with a birdie on 16 but then I lost it with the bogey on 17, so it was good to birdie the last hole. I wanted to get to at least ten under, and I just did that.”

Graeme McDowell

“I’ve played in front of many big crowds before, but maybe none as passionate as the Irish crowd.  There’s nothing quite like it when a crowd is pulling for you, it’s a fun experience. I’ve never really experienced it before, except perhaps at The Ryder Cup, so I’m looking forward to the weekend.

“It’s just fun to be part of this tournament, and fun to be contending. This is my type of golf course, and I’m loving every minute of it out there.”

Robert Rock

“It’s nice to be right in the tournament after two days. I’ve had a bit of a rough spell recently, so it feels better to be making some putts and shooting under par.

“My putting this week has been the key. I had 22 putts today – 22 putts for me is normally the front nine! I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the last few months, and it’s good to see it paying off.”

Padraig Harrington

“There’s no doubt that you’ve got to use the crowd’s momentum, but it can a double edged sword to be honest and I’ve found over the years it put a lot of pressure on me, the expectation.

“I think I’ve mellowed a little bit, and especially having won one, you realise people are behind you and encouraging you but you have to get away from that expectation. It’s not that easy to deliver all the time and win any tournament on demand. You have to relax a little bit and enjoy the applause, which I definitely do, but I don’t get too carried away with the expectations.”

Rory McIlroy

“Obviously I’m very disappointed. It’s a tournament that is very important to me, and I want to do well. To come here two years on the bounce and not even be in for the weekend, that’s not very nice.

“I just need to tighten it all up and become a lot more consistent, and just make the bad shots a little bit better and not be as wasteful around the greens. If I can do that, I know my game is right there.

“I’ve got a couple weeks off now to work on my game a little bit and play some links golf so I can get ready for the Scottish Open and The Open.”

Second Round Scores

132 M Ilonen  (Fin) 64 68,
134 G McDowell  (Nir) 68 66, R Wattel  (Fra) 69 65, R Rock (Eng) 68 66,
135 M Crespi  (Ita) 68 67, S Khan (Eng) 69 66, M Nixon (Eng) 70 65,
136 G Maybin (Nir) 71 65, P Harrington (Irl) 69 67, S Kim (Kor) 69 67, E Molinari  (Ita) 67 69,
137 R Kakko  (Fin) 71 66, M Carlsson  (Swe) 66 71, G Stal  (Fra) 70 67, A Hansen (Den) 67 70,
138 A Gee  (Eng) 68 70, G Havret  (Fra) 70 68, K Broberg (Swe) 69 69, D Huizing (Ned) 67 71, C Wood  (Eng) 69 69, P Casey  (Eng) 69 69, M Baldwin (Eng) 67 71, S Manley (Wal) 70 68, A McArthur  (Sco) 71 67, G Hurley (am) (Irl) 72 66,
139 G Bourdy (Fra) 68 71, M Hoey  (Nir) 68 71, R Gonzalez (Arg) 69 70, D Howell (Eng) 72 67, C Doak (Sco) 69 70, F Zanotti (Par) 70 69, D Willett  (Eng) 73 66, G Storm  (Eng) 69 70,
140 S Webster (Eng) 70 70, R Fisher (Eng) 68 72, M Siem  (Ger) 66 74, A Quiros  (Esp) 70 70, D Clarke (Nir) 72 68, R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 72 68, R Finch  (Eng) 68 72, T Lewis (Eng) 68 72, M Miller (USA) 73 67, J Carlsson (Swe) 70 70, S Walker (Eng) 72 68, E Goya (Arg) 70 70, A Cañizares  (Esp) 72 68,
141 P Lawrie (Irl) 69 72, M Fitzpatrick  (Eng) 72 69, D Horsey (Eng) 72 69, M Warren (Sco) 71 70, J Singh (Ind) 68 73, O Fisher  (Eng) 73 68, W Ormsby (Aus) 70 71, M Lundberg (Swe) 70 71, R Bland (Eng) 73 68, P Larrazábal (Esp) 72 69, L Hao-Tong (Chn) 69 72, P Sjöland (Swe) 69 72, J Roos (RSA) 68 73,
142 J Olazábal (Esp) 69 73, F Calmels  (Fra) 73 69, A Saddier (Fra) 71 71, J Doherty  (Sco) 71 71, J Kelly (Irl) 71 71, R Santos  (Por) 71 71, A Forsyth (Sco) 71 71, A Pavan (Ita) 71 71, J Heath  (Eng) 70 72, T Pieters  (Bel) 72 70, S Dodd (Wal) 73 69, R Karlsson (Swe) 66 76, D Fichardt (RSA) 68 74, A Wall (Eng) 71 71, J Knutzon (USA) 73 69, J Walters (RSA) 68 74,
CUT LINE
143 R McIlroy  (Nir) 74 69, B Paolini (USA) 69 74, M Madsen  (Den) 70 73, M Korhonen (Fin) 70 73, S Dyson  (Eng) 70 73, M Manassero (Ita) 70 73, L Slattery (Eng) 70 73, P Lawrie (Sco) 72 71, J Dantorp (Swe) 71 72, R Ramsay  (Sco) 73 70, V Riu  (Fra) 71 72, S Lowry  (Irl) 71 72, T Fleetwood  (Eng) 71 72,
144 S Gallacher (Sco) 73 71, A Hartø  (Den) 73 71, H Wen-Yi (Chn) 73 71, J Kruger (RSA) 74 70, S Hansen (Den) 72 72, L Bjerregaard  (Den) 70 74, M Foster (Eng) 73 71, S Jamieson  (Sco) 74 70, K Phelan (Irl) 71 73, D Stewart (Sco) 71 73, J Campillo (Esp) 70 74, S Kapur (Ind) 74 70, A Otaegui  (Esp) 72 72, G Moynihan (am) (Irl) 69 75,
145 C Lee (Sco) 73 72, T Levet (Fra) 73 72, R McGee (Irl) 77 68, D Brooks (Eng) 70 75, C McNamara (Irl) 71 74, P Waring  (Eng) 74 71, C Del Moral (Esp) 72 73, A Levy (Fra) 72 73, B Grace  (RSA) 74 71,
146 J Parry (Eng) 73 73, E Pepperell (Eng) 72 74, J Quesne  (Fra) 74 72, R Jacquelin (Fra) 72 74, D McGrane (Irl) 72 74, S Thornton (Irl) 72 74, T Hatton (Eng) 73 73, D Drysdale (Sco) 71 75, P McGinley (Irl) 73 73, R Green (Aus) 73 73, D McElroy (am) (Nir) 73 73,
147 E Grillo (Arg) 77 70, N Elvira  (Esp) 73 74, S Kjeldsen (Den) 71 76, G Shaw (Nir) 76 71, M Kieffer (Ger) 74 73, E Brady  (Irl) 76 71, S Wakefield (Eng) 75 72,
148 R Dinwiddie  (Eng) 73 75, T Van Der Walt (RSA) 75 73, J Morrison  (Eng) 75 73, A Kaleka  (Fra) 73 75, J Hansen  (Den) 77 71, J McLeary  (Sco) 74 74,
149 E De La Riva  (Esp) 74 75, G Porteous (Eng) 74 75, P Whiteford (Sco) 71 78, E Dubois (Fra) 74 75,
150 D Higgins (Irl) 72 78, B Rumford (Aus) 72 78, B McElhinney  (Irl) 73 77, F Aguilar (Chi) 76 74, G Bhullar (Ind) 74 76,
151 J Jeong (Kor) 77 74, A Sullivan (Eng) 76 75, D Sugrue (Irl) 76 75,
152 S Henry  (Sco) 73 79, D Im (USA) 77 75,
153 R Cannon (am) (Irl) 79 74,
154 B McGovern (Irl) 82 72, J Hahn (USA) 76 78,
155 D Mooney (Nir) 77 78, M Staunton (Irl) 76 79,
156 J Lima  (Por) 76 80,
** H Otto (RSA) 70 WD,

Talking points

  • Graeme McDowell’s best finish in the Irish Open to date was tied 11th in 2004. This is only the seventh time he has made the cut in 13 appearances.
  • Padraig Harrington won the Irish Open at Adare Manor in 2007. Should he win this week, he would become only the third Irishman, after Christy O’Connor Snr and Harry Bradshaw, to win his national Open on more than one occasion.

Source: European Tour

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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