McIlroy takes 6-shot lead into US Open weekend

Christo Greyling and Adam Hadwin made it to the weekend of the U.S. Open because of a rain delay. Thanks to their late birdies Saturday morning, they get to stick around even longer.

Hadwin birdied the par-5 ninth hole for an even-par 71 to made the cut on the number at 4-under 146. Greyling birdied the eighth hole and hung on with a par to complete his 74 and made the cut on the number.

Both wound up making three birdies on their last four holes.

They were among 21 players who had to return to Congressional because a weather delay kept them from finishing Friday.

If just making the cut was a victory, winning the U.S. Open seemed to be out of reach.

This was Rory McIlroy's show going into the final two days at Congressional. He had a six-shot lead over Y.E. Yang.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — The golf course didn't stand a chance. Neither did about 100 or so of the world's best players, to say nothing of all those impressive entries in the U.S. Open's record book.

Rory McIlroy took them all down.

In the second day of a golf concerto, the likes of which this sport rarely sees, the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland was the maestro, turning mighty Congressional into a playground, hitting fairways and greens as though this was the local pitch and putt.

He shot 5-under-par 66 on Friday that would have been better were it not for his single normal moment of this two-day stretch of near perfection — a missed tee shot and a recovery that went into the lake for a double bogey on No. 18.

Hardly enough to ruin this music.

McIlroy finished at 11-under 131 to set the 36-hole record at the U.S. Open. He took a record-tying six-stroke lead, over Y.E. Yang, into the weekend. He became the first player in the 111-year history of this championship to reach 13-under par, after birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 that briefly extended his lead to 10 shots.

"The only one I knew about was 12-under par, when Tiger did it in 2000," McIlroy said, a reference to reaching, then surpassing, a number that Woods attained when he won by 15 at Pebble Beach.

Those who have been watching McIlroy of late know anything is possible, on either end of the spectrum. He's the player who has now logged four rounds of 66 or less in the last year's worth of majors and been atop the leaderboard six times in the last 14 rounds. And he's the player who shot 80 on Sunday at the Masters two months ago to watch a four-shot lead get away.

Ian Poulter knows which one he's expecting this weekend.

"It's been coming," Poulter said. "It's not a surprise to me, and I don't think it's a surprise to you. He's that good."

Tied for third, but miles away at 2-under 140, were Sergio Garcia, Brandt Snedeker, Robert Garrigus, Matt Kuchar and 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson.

"It's only two days," Johnson said. "I'm not going to give it to him yet."

But Kuchar's mindset was more typical among those returning for what's shaping up as a weekend of Rorymania — including 21 who didn't finish their second round after play was suspended because of darkness.

"If McIlroy keeps playing the way he does," Kuchar said, "he's uncatchable."

With their three-inch rough and super-fast greens, U.S. Open venues are supposed to turn these weeks into bedraggling grinds that frustrate everyone, including the eventual winner.

McIlroy hasn't had that problem yet. Helped by an overnight rainstorm that softened the greens and some less-than-penalizing rough that wasn't grabbing and holding, McIlroy hit 32 of 36 greens in regulation over the first two days and went the first 35 holes without a bogey.

"It's very near the best I can play," he said.

His shot of the day was the approach on No. 8 that landed on the back of the green, bounced twice, spun backward and rolled into the cup for an eagle.

"We figured it was probably him just the way he was going," said Steve Stricker, who heard the roar from the ninth tee box.

It put McIlroy at 10 under after only 26 holes, breaking Gil Morgan's mark of 39 holes to reach double digits back in 1992. Before Friday, Morgan and Woods were the only players to reach 12 under at the Open.

McIlroy got there on the par-5 16th with a 4-iron from 223 yards that gave him a look at eagle from 8 feet. He settled for birdie, but broke the record on the next hole with a 7-iron from 175 yards that set up his 11th birdie of the tournament.

Along for the round was Phil Mickelson, a four-time major champion who rarely gets upstaged. He shot 69 to finish at 1-over 143 — normally a score that would be in contention at a U.S. Open. But probably not this time.

"He's striking it flawlessly and putted great on the greens," Mickelson said. "His first two rounds were very impressive."

Long after McIlroy's show was over, the top three players in the world — Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer — took to the course to start playing out the string. Westwood had the best round of the three, shooting 69 to move to 1 over for the tournament. He conceded he'll almost certainly leave Congressional still in search of his first major.

Did he have any advice for McIlroy?

"I'm supposed to beat him over the next two days," Westwood said. "I'm hardly going to give him advice, am I?"

Like Westwood, Yang also hadn't reached the first tee box by the time McIlroy had finished. He warbled between eight and six shots behind over 5½ hours, including a 42-minute rain delay that thinned out whatever gallery was left to watch the race for second place.

Yang is best known as the man who took down Tiger at the PGA Championship in 2009 — the first time Woods had taken a 54-hole lead into the final round and lost. So, it figures, if anyone is going to believe anything is possible, Yang would be the man.

Or maybe not.

"I just saw that it was, like, maybe seven to nine strokes ahead for Rory, maybe even 10," Yang said, "so I didn't really think about what Rory's game was or how I'm going to catch him."

Nobody really was.

"If he keeps playing the way he's playing," Snedeker said, "we're all playing for second place."