CRANS-SUR-SIERRE, Switzerland – Rory McIlroy shot a 2-under 69 Friday to share the lead after the second round of the European Masters.
The U.S. Open winner, who had an eagle two and a double-bogey 7, is 8 under along with Englishmen Gary Boyd, Simon Dyson and Jamie Donaldson of Wales.
McIlroy missed a 4-foot putt for birdie at the 18th.
“I really wanted to make that to get into the lead on my own,” the Northern Irishman said. “All in all, I’m tied for the lead and it’s not a bad position to be in.”
Morning leader Nick Dougherty of England ended his 21-tournament streak of failing to make the cut, shooting 72 to finish 7 under.
Dougherty has not reached weekend play since the Singapore Open in November 2010.
Joining Dougherty one stroke behind the leaders were Martin Kaymer of Germany, Jaco van Zyl of South Africa, Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay and Danny Willett of England.
World No. 5 Kaymer and sixth-ranked McIlroy can climb to third with victory here.
Second-ranked Lee Westwood also shot 69 and is two shots back on 6 under with nine other players.
Starting his round after lunch, McIlroy hit possibly the day’s best shot when driving to the pin at the 339-yard fifth, fading right over trees to bypass the dog-leg fairway.
He sank the 2-footer for an eagle he described as “pretty special,” but gave back both shots on the 629-yard ninth.
McIlroy pushed his second shot right onto the 10th fairway - drawing a bemused glance from Kaymer striding in the opposite direction - and eventually three-putted from 4 feet.
“I was pretty frustrated heading into the back nine,” McIlroy said, “but I played OK. There’s been a lot of traffic on (the greens). You start becoming a little tentative.”
McIlroy steadied himself and only a birdie at the 15th interrupted his sequence of pars.
Kaymer had his own double bogey at the par-3 16th, taking four shots from the green edge after his tee shot found a small hole.
“Sixteen was a joke,” said the 2010 U.S. PGA champion, who criticized the putting surfaces. “The greens have become really bad in the afternoon. There are a lot of other guys who got stuck at seven or eight under.”
Kaymer cheered up at the prospect of challenging McIlroy for the title and a higher ranking.
“Maybe we can play with each other on Sunday for the victory—that would be fantastic,” Kaymer, a former No. 1 said.