British Open marches on without its star attraction

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British Open marches on without its star attraction
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy waves to the crowd as he walks onto the 18th green during the second round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, Friday, July 19, 2019.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Royal Portrush had all of Saturday morning to recover from the reality that Rory McIlroy is no longer part of this British Open.

In a second round so packed with emotion that it felt like Sunday, McIlroy nearly recovered from his opening 79 by coming up one birdie short of making it to the weekend. McIlroy, one of three players from Northern Ireland celebrating the return of the Open after a 68-year absence, says he has never felt such support.

And now for the rest of the show.

Shane Lowry of Ireland and J.B. Holmes were tied for the lead at 8-under 134, one shot ahead of Lee Westwood and Tommy Fleetwood. Among those within three shots of the lead were Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth.

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