Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett set up for weekend battle at Irish Open

Written By Alec Brzezinski
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With Jason Day winning at seemingly every turn and Jordan Spieth fresh off an historic season, Rory McIlroy has been left in the wind.

But the four-time major champion is one shot back at the Irish Open this week as he seeks his first victory of 2016. After shooting a 5-under 67 in Round 1 of the European Tour competition fir which his Rory Foundation is host, McIlroy responded with a 2-under 70 on the difficult K Club course in County Kildare, Ireland, to get to 7 under.

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McIlroy got off to a bumpy start. He bogeyed two of his first five holes, which offset birdies on holes one and four. But he settled in nicely to finish his round with five birdies and three bogeys.

McIlroy is chasing reigning Masters champion Danny Willett and Marc Warren, who finished the second round at 8 under after firing a near-flawless 6-under 66 on Friday. Willett, after grabbing the first-round lead, shot a 1-under 71 on Friday.

There are seven players 3-under-par or better at the halfway point, so the Irish Open is set up to present an intriguing weekend battle between McIlroy and Willett.

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