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Rory McIlroy in contention for 'extra special' first win at the Memorial

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After the Memorial's first two rounds, Rory McIlroy has his sights on finally getting that coveted handshake from the Golden Bear. 

McIlroy hasn't won since the CJ Cup in October, however, he's posted a runner-up (Masters), a solo fifth (Wells Fargo Championship) and a solo eighth (PGA) in his last three starts. And now, he's three shots off Cam Smith's lead at Muirfield Village, but a few blunders on Friday stick out like a sore thumb. 

"Another solid day's play," McIlroy said after a second-round 3-under 69. "Couple of silly bogeys. Bogeyed the [par-5 11th] and the [par-4] 14th for the second day in a row. But I guess it sort of happens around here. It's getting tricky and you're going to make bogeys regardless of where they come. 

"Overall, two solid rounds of golf, right in contention going into the weekend, depending what guys do this afternoon. Yeah, happy with how everything is sort of going."


Full-field scores from the Memorial Tournament


If the world No. 8 can ride the momentum from his last three starts and break through this weekend, it would be McIlroy's first win at Jack's Place. Though the 33-year-old has claimed many accolades in his career, this one would have added significance because of who would accompany McIlroy in the winner's circle. 

"Think it's a special moment in anyone's career being able to walk up the hill off your tee and get that handshake (from Jack Nicklaus)," McIlroy said. "I'd love to win here. I won at Bay Hill (in 2018) at [Arnold Palmer's] place, but I was never able to get that handshake because Arnold passed away a couple years before (in '16). It makes it extra special when you're able to win a tournament, whether it's hosted by Jack or Arnold or any of the greats in the game."