For the second straight day, McIlroy shot a bogey-free, 5-under 67 at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal. He sits in a tie for sixth at 10 under at the halfway point, four shots behind leader Jaco Van Zyl.
McIlroy entered this week without any prior course knowledge, and he enacted a conservative strategy as a result: keep it in play, avoid bogeys and take advantage of the course's five par-5s. Through two rounds he has done just that, making seven of his 10 birdies on par-5s, including four during the second round.
"I felt like I hit the ball well again from tee-to-green for the most part," McIlroy said. "A little disappointed that I didn't make a couple more birdies coming down the last few holes, but it's still a good round of golf. It's solid and another bogey-free round, so can't really complain."
McIlroy trailed by six shots entering the day, but at one point his deficit was 10 shots when Van Zyl followed an opening 61 with another hot start. But the Ulsterman kept plugging along, making up ground with three straight birdies on Nos. 11-13 to cut into the South African's advantage. He now enters the weekend within striking distance as he looks to win for the first time since the Wells Fargo Championship in May.
McIlroy's bogey-free streak was nearly derailed on No. 18, however, when he found trouble on the closing hole for the second straight. While he turned a sand wedge around to hit a shot left-handed en route to a par save during the opening round, he had no such opportunity Friday after his drive rolled into a large bush.
After taking an unplayable lie, McIlroy hit a fairway wood just short of the green, pitched to 7 feet and holed the putt to maintain a clean card.
"I think the last putt on 18 there was an important one to hole, to make sure I went 36 holes without a bogey," he said. "It would have been really tough to take if I would have bogeyed the last one."
McIlroy found 14 of 18 greens in regulation for the second straight day, and after a poor putting performance at the Frys.com Open is averaging 29 putts per round in Turkey. This is the first time that McIlroy has completed two straight bogey-free rounds on the European Tour since the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February, an event he went on to win by three shots.
"I think the two 67s that I shot were very comfortable. I didn't really do much," he said. "There's been low scores out there the last couple days, and I definitely feel like there's a 62 or 63 out there for me."