Rory McIlroy's luck changed for the better in the early stages of his second round in the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham on Friday.

McIlroy hooked his approach well left of the green on the third but saw the ball creep onto the fourth tee as Japan's Toshinori Muto in the group ahead heard the cries of 'fore' and took evasive action. A few inches to the right and the ball could easily have been unplayable, but the 23-year-old Ulsterman did not make the most of his reprieve, pitching to 10ft but missing the par putt.

At two under McIlroy was now four off the lead held by Australian Adam Scott, who was among the afternoon starters, while Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts was three under after dropping two shots in his first three holes

On Thursday McIlroy complained of "an unfortunate break" during his opening 67, running up a double bogey on the 15th when his drive bounced off a young spectator's head and went out of bounds.

The former US Open champion joked: "He could have headed it the other way!", after checking that Bristol teenager Jason Blue was unharmed and giving him a signed glove.

Healthy crowds were lining the course despite tournament officials hoping many spectators would delay their arrivals after heavy rain overnight left standing water on parts of the course.

Play got under way at 6:30am as scheduled, but fans were directed to different entrance gates as work was carried out to improve conditions. Several parts of the course were roped off, with the area between the second and fourth greens particularly badly affected.

"We've had far more rain overnight than we were expecting, unfortunately," R&A chief executive Peter Dawson told BBC Radio Five Live.

"There's been 11mm or so but the course can take it as the drainage here is good. There is some standing water but we can play golf and the rules of golf will deal with the casual water.

"The spectator conditions are not so good but we are working hard. We are told it will be dry for the rest of the day but, if anyone was thinking about delaying their arrival, that would be good."