Rory McIlroy suggests testing new equipment may have led to back injury

Rory McIlroy was almost forced to withdraw Friday from the European Tour's BMW African Open after suffering a back injury.

Storm has no fears about playing alongside McIlroy for the first time.

The second-ranked McIlroy (68) made five birdies on the first six holes of the back nine but bogeyed the final two to finish in a five-way tie for fifth after two rounds.

Sharing second place with McIlroy were South Africans Thomas Aiken, Dean Burmester, who eagled the par-five 15th, and Jbe Kruger and Jordan Smith of England.

Making his first appearance at the tournament since 2008, McIlroy rolled in seven birdies - including four straight from Nos.

The Northern Irishman was three over through four holes, but an eagle three at the par five eighth hole set him on a purple patch that saw him muscled his way towards Storm. "I started well. I felt like I drove the ball well today for the most part".

"I felt like I gave myself a lot of chances on our front nine, the back nine".

For his part the leader has shown plenty of determination this week after a freakish set of circumstances at the end of last season had him believing he had lost his card for the first time since 2005. Hopefully this muscle spasm that I have around the joint is sort of subsiding and I will go get some more treatment before I go out on Sunday.

Rory McIlroy will have to overturn a three-shot deficit if he is to get 2017 off to a winning start at the BMW SA Open. Considering that, I played well, stuck at it and hopefully I can feel better tomorrow.

Storm only retained his European Tour membership card for 2017 after American Patrick Reed was removed from the money-list previous year, having not played in the required number of five tournaments.

Discussing his round this afternoon he said: "I'd like to be a few shots better or at least a few shots closer to the lead".

"I have never played with Rory before and I know him really well so it will be a lot of fun.

I am just pleased that I kept the momentum going from the second round, played really nicely and holed some good putts".

Storm has led a tournament three times after 54 holes on the European Tour, but hasn't converted any of those leads into victories. "But I have a new lease on life after I thought that I had lost my card and all my privileges", Storm said on Saturday.

  • Angelo Rivera