Rory McIlroy on the charge at US Open

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Football News

Former champion Rory McIlroy was threatening to do more than simply make the cut and join Lee Westwood in contention for the US Open at Oakmont.

McIlroy completed his weather-delayed first round on Friday with bogeys on his last three holes to finish seven over par, equalling his worst score in the event which provided his first major victory in 2011.

The only good news for the 27-year-old was that Thursday's early starters were then told they would not start their second rounds until Saturday morning, after initially being given a start time of 8:54pm on Friday evening - two minutes after sunset.

And the combination of a session on the range with coach Michael Bannon and a more aggressive approach paid off for McIlroy on day three as he carded four birdies in his first seven holes to ease any concerns about making an early exit.

Starting on the back nine, McIlroy birdied the 10th, 12th, 14th and 16th and then drove the green on the short par-four 17th, only to three-putt for par from 80 feet.

At three over par the four-time major winner was seven shots off the lead held by American Dustin Johnson, who had completed rounds of 67 and 69 on Friday, with France's Gregory Bourdy a shot behind after holing his approach to the 11th for an eagle.

Westwood had held the outright lead on five under after birdies on the first and fourth, but bogeys on three of the next four holes dropped the former world number one back to two under par alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Sergio Garcia.

Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen had earlier completed a superb 65 to get back into contention on level par after an opening 75.

Oosthuizen, who recovered from an opening 77 at Chambers Bay last year to finish joint second, birdied four holes in a row on his back nine on Friday and returned to the course on Saturday to par the eighth and birdie the ninth.

" I didn't have a great first round. I felt as uncomfortable over the golf ball as I have in a while," said Oosthuizen, who lost a play-off in the Open at St Andrews last year.

"I couldn't really find anything on the range as well before the second round, but out on the golf course I found something in my set-up that felt comfortable, started getting my little cut back on my driver and went from there.

" I hit a few shots really close. I was building really nice momentum and then I had a horrible four-putt on 17 for bogey, which put all the brakes on, and then a bogey on one to go back to five over. But the last seven holes I went five under and just had good stretches of good putts, solid shots and giving myself opportunities.

" It was a great round. I could have easily just gone out there and shot another 74 or something and be out of the tournament. What I learned from last year was to never really give up in a US Open. Just grind on. If something happens then you can get yourself right back into it."

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Louis Oosthuizen
Rory McIlroy
Lee Westwood

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