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McIlroy's relieved to recover ground

WORLD number two Rory McIlroy was hoping his late drama at the Open yesterday - when he hit a spectator on the head with a drive - would not have an effect on his performance in today's second round.

The 23-year-old's ball bounced out of bounds at the 15th - costing him two shots and threatening to derail his bid for a second major - after it hit teenager Jason Blue.

However, having dropped to one under, the Irishman bounced back brilliantly by driving the green on the 336-yard 16th for a birdie and then picking up another shot at the last.

"I think we had it maybe slightly tougher than the guys in the morning and 67 was a score that I'm very pleased with," said McIlroy, who was three behind overnight leader Australian Adam Scott.

"You're just trying to play well and put yourself into position going into Sunday. It doesn't matter what the leader is on Thursday.

"I missed a couple of shots but you're not going to hit every shot good out there."

A case in point was that drive on the 15th, which could have done serious damage to both the spectator and McIlroy's round.

"It was an eventful last four holes. Everything was going along pretty nicely," said the 2011 US Open champion.

"I hit it slightly right and it went 20 yards right off his head. He could have headed it the other way!"

Teenager Blue recalled: "Rory came over and said: 'Sorry, are you okay. I don't think this will help much but here you are' (giving him a signed glove).

"He was quite apologetic."