Newcastle, Northern Ireland (SportsNetwork.com) - Tyrrell Hatton tied the course record with a 5-under 66 in Friday's second round and he shares the lead with five others at the Irish Open.
Hatton, Bernd Wiesberger (67), Richie Ramsay (67), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (68), Chris Wood (69) and Soren Kjeldsen (70) all finished 36 holes tied at 3-under- par 139 at Royal County Down Golf Club.
The six leaders have combined for 11 wins on the European Tour, with Ramsay picking up the most recent victory at this year's Trophee Hassan II in late March. Hatton is the only winless player among the leaders.
First-round co-leader and 2007 champion Padraig Harrington carded a 2-over 73 and is tied for seventh with former world No. 1 Luke Donald (70) at minus-2.
Matt Ford is the only other player under par. The Englishman sits alone in ninth at 1-under 141 following an even-par 71.
After his win at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy followed up his first-round 80 with a 71 and finished 36 holes at 9- over 151. The Ulsterman missed his second straight cut.
McIlroy made just two birdies in his second round at seven and 12, which served as his lone two birdies all week. McIlroy made 15 pars and a double- bogey on No. 15 the rest of his round.
"I was trying as hard as I could but just couldn't get a good run on holes going," McIlroy admitted. "Unfortunately I just left myself too much to do. The support out there was phenomenal and it's the third year in a row they are not going to see me playing on the weekend. I'm more disappointed for them. I'm honestly looking forward to two weeks off before the U.S. Open."
Hatton, who tied the course record of 66 set by Jimmy Bruen all the way back in 1939, started off on fire. After making an eagle at the par-5 first, the Englishman ripped off back-to-back gains, putting him at minus-4 through three holes.
Following a trio of pars from four, Hatton traded a birdie on seven for a bogey on eight. He made the turn with four straight pars from nine before sandwiching bogeys on 14 and 15 in between birdies at 13 and 16. A birdie at the last gave Hatton a share of the lead and helped him tie the course record.
"I got off to a great start and that was the key for me," Hatton said. "Thankfully I kept it going and had a good finish. I had a sixth in Abu Dhabi and was eighth in China so it hasn't been a bad season, but I haven't been really close to the leaders so I am looking forward to the weekend."
Wiesberger started on the back nine and was rolling at the start. After five pars and a birdie on 12 got the Austrian going, he later rolled in birdies on 16 and 17 before making an eagle at the par-5 18th.
It was a quiet closing nine for Wiesberger, however, as he made bogeys at two and seven before pouring in his fourth birdie on nine.
"The back nine was definitely some of the best I've played. Obviously you've got to hole a couple of putts and sometimes you've got to scramble a little bit," said Wiesberger. "I played pretty well today, even though I don't think anyone was going out there today without any dropped shots. It's hard."
Ramsay also played the back nine first and holed birdies on 12, 13 and 16. Around the turn Ramsay kept going strong with two more gains at one and four. The Scotsman nearly had a bogey-free round, but dropped a shot on No. 9 to shoot 67.
Bello did go bogey-free in his round with three birdies, including two over his final three holes at 16 and 18 to tie the lead.
Wood made the turn at even-par after making two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine. A pair of birdies on 12 and 13 helped him get to minus-3 and he closed with five straight pars from 14.
Kjeldsen, playing the back nine first, had three unanswered birdies at 11, 12 and one, which had him up to minus-5 for the week. However, bogeys on four and six dropped him back to 3-under, where he finished after a trio of pars from seven.
NOTES: Of the leaders, Ramsay and Kjeldsen each have three wins. Wiesberger and Bello have two, Wood has one and Hatton has none ... McIlroy had not missed consecutive cuts since 2013 at this event and the British Open ... He has missed the cut here three consecutive years, with last year's missed cut being the only one for McIlroy in 2014 ... Maximilian Kieffer (76), who shared the first-round lead with Harrington, is tied for 13th at 1-over 143 ... Harrington has also finished runner-up at this event three times to go along with his 2007 win ... With the cut falling at 5-over 147, 68 players advanced to play the weekend ... Joining McIlroy with the weekend off are defending champion Mikko Ilonen, Martin Kaymer, Stephen Gallacher, George Coetzee and 1999 winner Sergio Garcia.