By Derek Lawrenson for the Daily Mail
Published: 01:30 GMT, 15 February 2020 | Updated: 01:35 GMT, 15 February 2020
Rory McIlroy claimed the world No 1 spot for the first time in 2012 by beating Tiger Woods down the stretch to win the Honda Classic. Now he's looking to punctuate his latest rise to the summit by winning the prestigious PGA Tour event hosted by the great man.
On a day when Tiger himself showed once more that no venue causes him fits quite like the wiles and mysteries of Riviera, McIlroy answered the riddles with a fine 67 to be a menacing presence on the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Genesis Invitational.
The Northern Irishman moved seven shots ahead of Woods, who could only muster a 73, and is now looking up at only American Matt Kuchar who followed up his opening 64 with a 69 for a two shot advantage.
Rory McIlroy looks on at the fifth hole during an impressive round at Riviera Country Club
'I'm really pleased, I managed my game well and made some good up and downs,' said McIlroy. 'I'm thinking my way round this course and that's what you have to do here.'
On what's at stake over the weekend, he added: 'I think anytime there's a tournament you haven't won, you want to correct that, and that applies particularly in this instance. I think we all know how special it is here, and I'd love to win this trophy.'
McIlroy was out late and made the ideal start with a birdie at the first. There are only three par fives here and Rory birdied all of them in another sublime exhibition of his peerless driving. Playing alongside Dustin Johnson, it remains one of the wonders of the modern game that he can concede six inches in height to the muscular Johnson, some 30lbs in weight – but not a yard in length off the tee.
The Northern Irishman has