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May 4 2012

9:42 PM

McIlroy celebrates with 68

Interview: Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy talks about his play with Bill Rosinski from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rory McIlroy didn't have any big plans for Wednesday evening as he celebrates his 23rd birthday.

"Probably just go out for a nice dinner and take it easy and get ready for tomorrow," the young Northern Irishman said.

McIlroy will have some ground to make up on the weekend, too. He's 6 under and six strokes off the lead held by Nick Watney -- but McIlroy has done it before. He made the cut on the number in 2010, then shot 66-62 on the weekend to earn his first PGA TOUR win.

"I think I was nine back or ten back going into the weekend here last time, so being only six back should be easy," McIlroy said. "But no, the guys at the top of the leaderboard are obviously playing well, and I'll obviously go out and get off to a good start tomorrow and post a good one to give myself a chance going into Sunday."

McIlroy, who needs to finish tied for seventh with one other player or better to regain the world's No. 1 ranking, fired a 68 on Friday. He's playing for the first time since he tied for 40th at the Masters and just the second time in eight weeks.

During the first two rounds, McIlroy only hit 10 fairways, although he said several of the misses were in the first cut. He still has found all but nine greens in regulation and has taken 29 putts each of the first two rounds.

"It was okay," McIlroy said. "I haven't felt like I've had anything near my best the last couple days, but I've been able to get it around, and to be 6 under through two rounds is pretty good, considering the way I've hit the ball. I just need to do some work this afternoon on the range and see if I can improve that and have a good weekend."

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