There are not many finer sights in golf than Rory McIlroy on a full-bloodied charge.

On Friday night, the Northern Irishman had to hole a slippery putt on the 18th green just to make the cut at the BMW PGA Championship. Yesterday, he mounted the kind of blistering surge that would have had those BMW engineers asking him for advice on improving acceleration in their swanky motors.

McIlroy had to get motoring, of course. Having squeezed into the closing 36-holes on the one-over limit, the 30-year-old was so far off the pace he may as well have been playing in the 2018 championship.

A rampaging seven-under 65 in the glorious, sun-soaked conditions on the West Course propelled him up the leaderboard with a six-under aggregate.

HeraldScotland:

He is still nine shots behind frontrunners Jon Rahm and Danny Willett but McIlroy was certainly not going to throw in the towel. In 2014, when he won the European Tour’s flagship title, he was seven shots behind going into the final round. In this game of wildly fluct-uating fortunes, no lead is big enough.

“I’ve done what I can and shot a good score and I’ll give it a go for sure tomorrow,” McIlroy said. “At least I’ve given myself some hope.

“But at the same time I’m a realist. I know I won from seven back a few years ago and I feel like that’s something that happens maybe once in your career. Maybe I can try to make it twice?”

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McIlroy came bursting out of the traps like something you would see at the Walthamstow dogs and a blitz of birdies at the second, third and fourth got him up and running.

A stream of pars reined in that initial burst but he knocked his approach to the 11th into a couple of feet for a birdie and then made a 15-footer on the 12th for an eagle.

Further gains at the 15th and 17th, which sandwiched his only dropped shot of the day at the 16th, kept him ticking along but the good work came close to unravelling up the last. A wayward second shot at the par-5 18th flirted with the hospitality pavilion and, more worryingly, the water but his ball bounced on a little bridge and came to rest at the foot of the grandstand behind the green.

“Wow,” gasped McIlroy with a relieved laugh when he approached his ball and was informed of his dollop of good fortune.

After waiting an eternity for a referee to turn up to confirm where he could drop his ball – can officials be punished for their pace in the current war on slow play? – McIlroy dinked his third shot up to about 10-feet but missed the birdie putt.

Given the good break he had been afforded, though, the four-time major winner wasn’t going to grumble with a par.

“When my second shot was in the air, I was thinking I’d be happy to come away from this with a five,” he said of that wobbly approach.

After a first-round 76 left him on the back foot, McIlroy continues to make sturdy strides.

“I only took two weeks off [before this] but it felt like I had not played golf in years on Thursday,” he said of that 76.

“It was strange. But it’s been nice to figure it out and play a little bit better each day.”

He will need to be a bit better today too.