McIlroy makes cut in Oz

Rory McIlroy made the cut with ease in the Australian Open and vowed: "The best is yet to come."

The Holywood amateur, 17, fired a second round 74 at Royal Sydney to make the cut with five shots to spare in his eighth professional event.

But while the future superstar is tied for 24th place on four over par - 10- shots behind leader Nathan Green - he believes he is playing well enough to climb the leaderboard and chase a top ten finish.

He said: "I played okay. It was hard to get any momentum going because even though it was sunny and warm, it was very windy again.

"It was tough out there but I'm really happy to make the cut by five shots and lie in the top 25.

"I am playing well and putting well so if I can hit it a bit closer with my irons and commit more, I can shoot a pretty good number and get right up there."

McIlroy had three birdies and five bogeys in his round as high winds sent scores soaring at the classic Sydney venue.

And after finishing with a birdie at the last to set up a third round pairing with American Kevin Stadler, he wants to go on and make a move up the leaderboard.

He added: "I am putting and chipping quite well and I am driving it well. So if I can keep doing what I'm doing I can have a really good week.

"It's really nice down here and my luggage arrived the other day after going missing on the way over.

"Everything has been great so far and it would be nice to finish as the top amateur in my last event of the year."

McIlroy is just one shot behind Aussie pair Stephen Dartnall and Andrew Dott in the race for the amateur medal.

In the battle for the title Green fired a one under par 71 to lead by two shots from namesake Richard Green as Greg Norman birdied the 18th to make the cut with a shot to spare.

Leader Green was out in front by five shots at one point when he reached the turn in two under par.

But he three-putted the 14th for his first bogey in 23 holes and eventually finished just two ahead of left-hander Richard, who also shot a 71.

Only two other players in red figures with 2001 champion Stuart Appleby's best-of-the-day 68 drawing him level with Gavin Coles (70) at one under.

Tournament favourite Adam Scott (70), US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy (72), Brett Rumford (70), Nick O'Hern (71), Jarrod Lyle (75), Steven Bowditch (72) and Andrew Martin (73) are all tied for fifth on level par.

Green said: "Five days ago I never would have thought I'd be sitting here in this position but I've managed to control myself out there.

"I saw that I was well ahead at one stage but I hit a few scrappy shots but managed to hold it together to finish off a reasonably good round."