Alfred Dunhill Links: Rory McIlroy five off pace after 67

Rory McIlroy with his father Gerry at Kingsbarns on Friday
Rory McIlroy is playing in the pro-am event with his father Gerry

Rory McIlroy is five off the pace at the halfway stage of the Dunhill Links Championship after firing an impressive five-under 67 at Kingsbarns on Friday.

McIlroy is five behind France's Raphael Jacquelin who leads on nine under.

Irish duo Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington are in a group a shot off the pace after both hit rounds of 70.

Michael Hoey is sharing 40th on two under after a 70 at Carnoustie with Darren Clarke [75] and Gareth Maybin [74] both on two over.

Maybin, who like Hoey and Clarke was in action at Carnoustie, could be doing with a good finish in the Scottish event as he is currently 112th in the Race to Dubai standings.

The Ballyclare man needs to finish in the top 110 in the order of merit to retain his playing privileges for 2015.

McIlroy, partnered by his father Gerry and keen to make the cut in the team event so that his Dad can play St Andrews on Sunday on his 55th birthday, started the day nine off the pace and dropped back to two over with a bogey on the 14th.

However, the world number one responded in style with a superb fairway-wood approach to the par five 16th and rolled in the eagle putt from 15 feet before making birdies on the 17th, first and third.

The 25-year-old then drove the green on the short par-four sixth to set up another birdie and move to four under par with a potential two more rounds at St Andrews to come.

Victorious European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley joined Hoey on two under after his 70 at Kingsbarns while Peter Lawrie is a further shot back after a 73 at St Andrews.

Kevin Phelan and County Down-based Simon Thornton are both on level par after firing rounds of 71 at Kingsbarns while Damien McGrane on one over after a 70 at the same venue.

Jacquelin leads on nine under with Harrington and Lowry joined on eight under by another Frenchman Alexander Levy and overnight leader Oliver Wilson who shot a level-par 72 at Kingsbarns.

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