McIlroy (67) five behind at Dunhill Links

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Rory McIlroy shot a 5-under 67 at Kingsbarns on Friday to move into contention at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The world No. 1 opened with a 1-over 73 Thursday at Carnoustie and admitted he was "flat" after leading Europe to its third straight victory in the Ryder Cup last week at Gleneagles.

"I felt like I struck the ball pretty well for the first couple of days, but just to see a few putts roll in sort of gave me a little bit of confidence and played well after that," he said.

On Saturday, McIlroy heads to the Old Course, where he'll start the third round five shots behind leader Raphael Jacquelin. The Frenchman recorded five birdies and three bogeys at Kingsbarns to finish 9 under par through 36 holes and grab a one-shot lead over Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, Oliver Wilson and Alexander Levy.

"I missed a few shots, but I hit it pretty solid, especially finishing on 18 like that, it gives some confidence for tomorrow and for the weekend," Jacquelin said.

Ryan Palmer, seeking his first win on the European Tour, is among those only two back. Other Ryder Cuppers in the field include Stephen Gallacher (-6), Victor Dubuisson (-4), captain Paul McGinley (-2) and Martin Kaymer (+2).