Rory McIlroy put one hand on the US Open trophy after carding another scintillating round of golf at Congressional.
The Northern Irishman followed his opening round of 65 with a 5-under 66 to post 11-under at the halfway stage – leaving him six shots clear of nearest rival YE Yang, tying the biggest lead in US Open history for the opening 36 holes.
“My goal for the day was to get to double digits,” said McIlroy, who carded the lowest US Open 36-hole total of 131. “It’s been a great couple of days and I’ve just got to keep it going.”
But the lead could have been even greater for the Ulsterman, who also became the first player to reach 13-under in US Open history, after he made his only blemish of the week with a double-bogey six at the 523-yard par-4 18th.
“I just got a bit of grass between club face and ball and turned it over a little bit,” added the World No.8 McIlroy. “I was trying to play it out towards the front-right of the green but unfortunately it went into the water and that was that.
“It would have been great to get the ball up and down for bogey but I can’t really dwell on it. I played 35 very good holes and that’s what I must focus on.”
And McIlroy, who squandered a four-shot final-round lead at the Masters in April, has confirmed he will continue to put his foot down despite seeing a lack of opposition in his wing-mirror.
“I still have to be aggressive and go for my targets like I’ve done so far,” said the 22-year-old, who has missed just four greens in 36 holes.
“Par golf from here on in could be good enough, but I’ve got to go out there and play the way I’ve been playing by making very committed swings.”
The Holywood sensation, who is a few months younger than Jack Nicklaus was when he lifted the first of his 18 majors in 1962, could become the youngest player to win the US Open since amateur Bobby Jones in 1923.
Former US PGA champion Yang carded a 2-under 69 to trail in second at 5-under, while Sergio Garcia remains in contention on 2-under with four others including 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson and in-form Matt Kuchar.
Leading Englishman Robert Rock, who was only let into the country late Wednesday evening after picking up his American visa, carded a level-par 71 to sit 1-under.
Lee Westwood restored some pride to get back to 1-over for the championship, a shot ahead of defending champion Graeme McDowell, while World No.1 Luke Donald narrowly made the cut at 4-over.
On a sad note, it was ‘Oh No No' for three of the Golf Boys as Hunter Mahan, Ben Crane and Rickie Fowler missed the cut – but at least they will be able to focus on recording their second track over the weekend. Bubba Watson qualified by the skin of his teeth at 4-over.
Other notable absentees for the final 36 holes include Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Nick Watney, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els and KJ Choi.
Remember, you can win the chance to caddie for McDowell in a competition exclusive to Golfmagic.