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His best shot in the second round 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 wobbled between eight and six shots behind over 5 1/2 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.”