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Irish Open: Marc Warren joins Danny Willett in lead

Irish Open: Danny Willett's two-shot lead was wiped out by a brilliant round from Marc Warren, with Rory McIlroy slipping down to third.

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Marc Warren surged past Rory McIlroy to join Danny Willett at the top of the Irish Open leaderboard at the end of the second round.

A brilliant seven-under 65 gave 2016 Masters champion Willett a two-shot lead at the conclusion of day one, but he was unable to produce a repeat display on Friday.

The Yorkshireman bogeyed two par fours on the back and front nine, failing to post any gains after dropping a shot on the seventh, but he still managed to get around in 71.

Warren took full advantage of  Willett's difficulties, carding 66 to move level on eight-under par at the top of the leaderboard.

The Scot has failed to make the cut in six of his nine starts this season, but secured a place for the weekend's action in emphatic fashion.

Warren sunk an excellent chip on the eighth hole before posting a further gain on the ninth, though a bogey at five denied him the outright lead.

"I think being pretty solid off the tee is the key to the round today. Kept it in play and from there, able to hit some good iron shots into the greens," said Warren.

"But anything under 70 would have been a really good score this morning, so [I am] pleased with 66."

McIlroy trailed the Masters champion by two shots going into day two, but, with a two-under 70, he moved to within one shot of the leading duo.

A pair of bogies after the turn did not prove too costly as an excellent putt from roughly 20 feet on the ninth enabled him to close the gap.

The weather deteriorated in the afternoon, but a strong round from Mathew Southgate saw the world number 794 rise to fourth, while Richard Sterne surged up the leaderboard to join fellow South African Jaco van Zyl in joint-fifth position by carding 68.

Reigning champion Soren Kjeldsen is seven shots of the leaders, while Padraig Harrington, Marcus Fraser, Andy Sullivan and Joost Luiten all missed the cut.

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