SOUTHPORT, England (AP) — Rory McIlroy got into contention in the British Open with three birdies on the front nine. He stayed there with three pars that were just as critical.

McIlroy holed par putts of about 10 feet on the 10th and 11th holes to start the back nine. His tee shot on the par-3 12th tumbled into a pot bunker, and he nearly holed that one.

He remained at 2 under for the tournament.

Matt Kuchar reached 6 under for the second time Friday, only to make bogey on the 16th hole to fall back to 5 under. Of the 24 players who have finished the second round, Jamie Lovemark (69) was the only one to break par.