Ireland's McIlroy and McDowell share halfway lead at World Cup in China

    Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell march forward during their second round 68 in China

    Story highlights

    • Irish pair Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell share halfway lead at World Cup
    • They card four-under 68 to join Australia on 13-under 131 at Mission Hills
    • Scotland a shot further back on 12-under after their 68 in foursomes play
    • Scotland's Steven O'Hara leads South African Open at halfway
    Irish pair Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell shared the lead at the halfway stage of golf's World Cup in China after a second round four-under-par 68 Friday.
    McIlroy, the reigning U.S. Open champion and McDowell, who won the 2010 edition, drew level with first round pacesetters Australia after superb play in the alternate shot foursomes.
    The Australian pair of Brendan Jones and Richard Green shot a two-under par 70 for 13-under 131, nine shots more than their superb 61 in the opening fourballs Thursday.
    World No.2 McIlroy and his close friend McDowell carded six birdies against two bogeys on the Blackstone course at the Mission Hills resort on the southern Chinese island of Hainan.
    "We struggled to find our rhythm a little bit on the front nine. Rory putted really well today, which kept things together," McDowell told the official European Tour website.
    "I've struggled a little bit on the greens the last couple of days. But I was happy the way I swung the club in general and Rory is playing lovely."
    McIlroy added: "I think both of us are very pleased about the score that we ended up shooting today.
    "Anything in the 60s in the foursomes format is a very reasonable score out there."
    Scottish pair Martin Laird and Stephen Gallacher carded four birdies in their 69 and were just one shot back on 12-under.
    Unheralded New Zealand duo Michael Hendry and Gareth Paddison raced up the leaderboard with a 68 to be tied for fourth on 10-under with Spain and the United States.
    England's Ian Poulter and Justin Rose were tied seventh with Mexico and the Netherlands, a shot further back, with the hosts China pleasing the galleries as Liang Wenchong and Zhang Xinjun carded six birdies and two eagles in their 68 to be five behind.
    The 28 national teams return to the fourballs format for the third round Saturday with Sunday's final round more difficult foursomes play.
    Meanwhile on the European Tour, Scotland's Steven O'Hara led the South African Open at halfway after a second-round 68 for 11-under 133 at Serengeti.
    O'Hara is battling to save his card and is down in 134th place on this season's money list with two counting tournaments left.
    Twice winner Retief Goosen and his fellow South African Merrick Bremner are just one shot behind with
    five-time champion Ernie Els also in contention after a second successive 69.