Masters 2012: Rory McIlroy moves up Augusta leaderboard
Rory McIlroy is one shot off the pace at the Masters after firing a three-under-par 69 at Augusta on Friday.
McIlroy's four-under-par total left him one stroke behind leaders Jason Dufner and Fred Couples.
"I'm right where I want to be. Only one off the lead going into tomorrow," said the US Open champion.
Graeme McDowell made the cut on three over after a 72 but Darren Clarke exited after an 81 put him 10 over with Padraig Harrington level after a 73.
McIlroy picked up birdies at the third, fourth and seventh before his momentum was halted by a bogey at the 10th.
The US Open champion got his birdie-fours at the 13th and 15th but a missed fairway saw him drop a shot on 17th and he needed to produce an up and down at the last for par.
That left him level in the clubhouse on four under with Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.
"I drove the ball a lot better today and I felt a lot more comfortable out there," said McIlroy after his round.
After parring his first 11 holes, McDowell moved towards the fringes of the leaderboard by picking up shots at the difficult par-three 12th and 13th.
However, his good work was undone by closing bogeys on the 17th and 18th.
Clarke, after a steady opening 73, bogeyed his first two holes on Friday and while a birdie followed at the next, further shots went on the sixth, seventh, 10th and 13th.
The Open champion's day of woe was completed by a double bogey on the 17th and further dropped shot at the last as he finished way off the projected cut of five over.
Harrington, who shot an opening 71, improved to two under after a birdie at the second but the suffered bogeys at the sixth, eighth and ninth to slip back to one over before picking up a shot at the 15th.
THE 2012 MASTERS
- Augusta National, Georgia
- 5-8 April
- Live BBC TV coverage:
- BBC Two Saturday & Sunday from 2030 and 1900 BST; Amen Corner plus holes 15 & 16 on Saturday & Sunday on Red Button & online
- BBC Radio:
- 5 live from 2100 BST on Thursday, Friday & Saturday; 2000 BST Sunday