Rampant Rory moves four clear

Rory McIlroy carded his second 66 of the week to claim a four-shot lead after two rounds of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

The Ulsterman started the second round with a one-shot lead, and having squandered early leads several times so far this season, the 25-year-old was undoubtedly nervous at the start.

He started his second round with a bogey, but his fears were quickly allayed when, in conditions conducive to low scoring, he carded seven birdies in the rest of his round to move four strokes in front of his nearest rival, Dustin Johnson.

The American carded the best round of the week so far – 65 – to reach eight-under-par the halfway stage.

A group of six players are a further two shots behind on six-under.

They are Sergio Garcia (70), Francesco Molinari (70), Ryan Moore (68), Ricky Fowler (69) and South African pair Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, who carded 67 and 68 respectively.

Another shot further behind on five-under is another South African George Coetzee (69) who briefly held the lead earlier in the day, Scotland’s Marc Warren (68) and American veteran Jim Furyk (71).

For McIlroy, this is the first time that he has held the lead at a major after 36 holes since the 2011 US Open, when he went on to win by eight shots at Congressional.

“My second rounds this year have been terrible and there isn’t really any explanation. Hopefully I put it to bed today,” McIlroy said after his round.

“It was just another solid a round of golf.”