McIlroy shoots 65 and joins Fleetwood in Players lead

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Rory McIlroy is just focusing on his second PGA Tour victory since 2016Players Championship second-round leaderboard-12 T Fleetwood (Eng), R McIlroy (NI); -9 J Furyk (USA), B Harman (USA), I Poulter (Eng), A Ancer (Mex); -8 K Kisner (US), K Mitchell (US), J Day (Aus) Other selected: -7 D Johnson (US); -6 R Knox (Sco), K Bradley (US); -4 J Rose (Eng), E Pepperell (Eng); -3 T. Woods (USA), M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -2 M Wallace (Eng) Full leaderboard

Rory McIlroy made an impressive late wave to join Tommy Fleetwood in the Players Championship on 12th after round two in Sawgrass.

The Northern Irishman, 29, made three birdies and an eagle in the back nine to play a great seven-under-par 65.

Fleetwood from England, 28, had previously hit a 67, made five birdies and two bogeys and also spotted a bunker for eagle on the second.

"I just have to keep doing the same things," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

"It didn't happen to me last week, but I did a lot of good things and it was fun to play with confidence."

McIlroy and Fleetwood lead a group of four players, including the Englishman Ian Poulter, through three shots in Florida.

Four-time big winner McIlroy chases his first PGA Tour victory after the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March last year.

"I was very comfortable and I enjoyed it," he added.

"I'll try to keep that focus and hold it. Two laps take a long time, but I've put myself in a good position."

Poulter hit a 66 with an eagle, seven birdies, a bogey and a double bogey to finish at nine under.

He is assisted by Mexican Abraham Ancer and Americans Brian Harman and Jim Furyk, who shot a brilliant 64.

World number one Dustin Johnson is seventh under a 68, while countryman Keegan Bradley, who shared the nocturnal lead with Fleetwood, slipped back to six below after a 73.

Russell Knox from Scotland is also six under, two strokes ahead of world number two Justin Rose, who recovered from a first round 74 with a 66 on Friday, while fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell is also four.

Tiger Woods is a blow farther back after carding a 71 with a four-fold bogey on the par-three 17th when the 14-times big winner hit two balls in the water.

"I was pretty ticked," he said. "I was determined to get everything back.

" Other than 17 I really didn't do much wrong. Everyone who makes the cut has a chance. "

Elsewhere, the Englishman Matt Wallace, who writes a daily diary for BBC Sport, is two, while fellow countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick is a bull's-eye.

Several big names missed the cut , set to one under.

Henrik Stenson and Jordan Spieth both ended in one over, with Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett and Phil Mickelson three shots away.

Paul Casey could not recover from an opening round 78 and finished eight in eight.

The BBC Sport website will have live text updates from the third round on Saturday and the last round from Sunday from 6:00 PM GMT on both days.

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