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Herbert extends the lead of the Irish Open with bird lightning; McIlroy, Fleetwood make cut

Overnight Leader Lucas Herbert opened a two-stroke lead in the semi-finals of the Irish Open and on Friday in the second round 67 was selected to sink on the Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown 13.

After charting an 8-under-64 series on Thursday to set the clubhouse goal, the Australian was three behind in the second round when he found the water on the third hole for a double bow.

But he sank a total of eight birdies to lead England’s Andy Sullivan and Scotland’s Grant Forrest which was tied for the second time.

“It was a little frustrating, but I also felt like I did pretty well to get 67 out of it,” Herbert said. ‘I stabbed some nice holes and then missed some where I probably thought it was a good chance to make.

‘The double [bogey] at three did not help so well, so for a round that is hopefully not one of the best of the week. I felt like I did really well to get a lot out of it and put myself in a very good position over the weekend. ‘

Container John Catlin was at 7 under overall while the former world number 1 Rory McIlroy He was two strokes behind after hitting a bow-free 67, thus improving his score in the first round.

The four-time major winner gradually started making one birdie on the first nine, before returning to the clubhouse with four birdie.

“I started better and once you make a few birds, you start to feel like you can make a few more,” McIlroy said.

‘The greens were also much better this morning than yesterday afternoon. It felt a little easier for holes, and that’s really what I did. Everything was just a little better today and it got a better score. “

England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Ireland’s Shane Lowry is also below 5 during the first two days.

Richard Bland, who took part in the US Open at Torrey Pines last month after securing his first victory in the British Masters, is 5-under on Saturday.

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