Rory McIlroy credited his ball striking after a bogey-free round of golf which he said was one of the best he's played this year.
Setting the early clubhouse target during the halfway stage of the European Tour's flagship event, Rory McIlroy posted a seven-under-par 65 during the second round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Following up a first round 67 in the first Rolex Series event of the year, McIlroy's 65 was his first ever bogey free round at Wentworth's West Course. And it was a round that could have been even better.
The 2014 champion missed three birdie putts of 10 feet or less on his opening three holes, but he consolodated that early disappointment with gains at the 4th, 7th and 9th holes to reach the turn in 32.
A masterclass in ball striking led to a run of four birdies in a row from the 12th which included a big putt on the 15th to give McIlroy a four-shot advantage over the field at the time. At 12-under-par, the World No.8 needed a single birdie over the closing stretch to match the 36-hole record.
Instead, it was three straight pars. Despite giving himself oppotunities from the tee he was unable to take advantage of either the par-five 17th and 18th holes for the second consecutive day in a row, but McIlroy was still pleased with his lowest round since his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
"I played really well, to go bogey-free around here and I think I only missed one green, and not by a lot, it was one of the best rounds of golf I've played this year, ball-striking-wise," he said.
"There's still a couple of loose shots in there, like the one on 18 but overall it was a great round of golf. I had everything sort of firing today and it was nice to take advantage of the opportunities I gave myself.
"I said yesterday it's easy to get yourself in trouble here so to be able to keep it in play for basically 36 holes has been really nice and just to take advantage of the shots that I'm hitting in to the greens.
"I hit it within probably six or eight feet those first three holes and none of them dropped so I was thinking oh here we go but I played great after that, took my chances when I hit good shots and a bit disappointed with the two fives coming in but it's a great round of golf.
"I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there but for the most part it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce.
"Obviously I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before. On the first tee box tomorrow, I'll be thinking about what I did today and trying to just keep the same thoughts and make the same swings.
"That's all you ask for is giving yourself a chance every week. I put myself in a good position after two days, and hopefully I'm in a good position after three days. Then it will be nice to get out there hopefully on Sunday in a position where I can try to win a golf tournament and that would give me a huge bit of confidence going into the summer."
McIlroy, who hasn't played this event since 2015, was quick to praise the extensive transformation of the West Course, and particularly the new surface on the greens - which were unveiled last year.
"I was surprised. It's still very soft out there and very gettable but you have to hit the shots and hole the putts and that's what I did today.
"The surfaces are so much better, so much more consistent, the grass that they put on them a couple of years ago it's held up so far even with this little bit of wet weather there's not really any spike marks or footprints so they are perfect surfaces to putt on."