Former champion Rory McIlroy made it two wins out of two on the second day of play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas.

McIlroy claimed a 3&2 victory over South Africa's Justin Harding and will reach the last 16 by avoiding defeat to Matt Fitzpatrick on Friday. 

Speaking afterwards McIlroy told Sky Sports: "I feel good. If anything I played a little bit better today than I did yesterday.

"Justin put up a really good fight, I had to make a few birdies just to hang in there on the front nine and to finish with two birdies on 15 and 16 was very nice."

Shane Lowry battled back with a birdie on the 18th to halve his match with Masters champion Patrick Reed.

It won't be enough for him to get past the group stage but victory today against Andrew Putnam  could be crucial in terms of qualifying for the Masters in two weeks.

Open champion Francesco Molinari had earlier enjoyed a magnificent seventh match-play victory in succession to move closer to a place in the knockout stages.

Molinari was thrashed 7&5 by Justin Thomas in his final group game 12 months ago, but has since become the first European player to compile a perfect 5-0 record in the Ryder Cup and the Italian followed his opening win over Satoshi Kodaira with a 4&3 victory over team-mate Thorbjorn Olesen.

With Webb Simpson and Kodaira halving the other match in group seven, Molinari needs to avoid defeat to Simpson on Friday to reach the last 16.

Tiger Woods will need other results to go his way to advance from his group after losing 2&1 to Brandt Snedeker, who halved his opening match with Patrick Cantlay on Wednesday.

Woods will need to beat Cantlay on Friday and hope that Snedeker loses to Aaron Wise, whose defeat to Cantlay ended his hopes of progressing.

Woods conjured up a miraculous escape from under a bush on the 10th with a left-handed shot played on his knees, but pulled his tee shot into the water on the 13th and crucially failed to match Snedeker's birdie on the par-five 16th. 

"It's good to finally get one against him. He's beaten me about 10,000 times in my career," Snedeker said.

"The crowd were all pulling for Tiger - I don't blame them. I am, too, 100 per cent of the time - except for today. To be honest, I think my own kids were pulling for him."

Justin Rose sympathised with opponent Eddie Pepperell after snatching an unlikely half from the jaws of defeat to maintain control of his own destiny.

Rose was three down with four holes to play but birdied the 15th, 17th and 18th to halve his match with Pepperell and will advance to the last-16 with a victory over Gary Woodland on Friday.

Rose, who was tournament host of the British Masters won by Pepperell last year, told Sky Sports: ".I had a great match with Eddie. He's such a class individual and a player to the point where you almost feel sorry for doing that to him over the last few holes."

Woodland was four up on Emiliano Grillo with seven holes to play before eventually securing his second victory of the week on the 18th, leaving Grillo and Pepperell to contest a dead rubber.

Open champion Francesco Molinari had earlier enjoyed a magnificent seventh match-play victory in succession to move closer to a place in the knockout stages.

Molinari was thrashed 7&5 by Justin Thomas in his final group game 12 months ago but has since become the first European player to compile a perfect 5-0 record in the Ryder Cup.

The Italian followed his opening win over Satoshi Kodaira with a 4&3 victory over team-mate Thorbjorn Olesen.

With Webb Simpson and Kodaira halving the other match in group seven, Molinari needs to avoid defeat to Simpson on Friday to reach the last 16.

Defending champion Bubba Watson crashed out with a game to spare after losing to Billy Horschel.

It is the second year in succession the defending champion has failed to reach the knockout stages after 2017 winner Dustin Johnson lost all three of his matches 12 months ago.

Ian Poulter still has work to do to reach the last 16 after losing on the 18th to Keith Mitchell, while Kevin Kisner beat Tony Finau to ensure all four players in group 14 have one point from two matches.

China's Li Haotong is in charge of group three after beating three-time major winner Brooks Koepka for his second straight victory, while Alex Noren kept his hopes alive by beating England's Tom Lewis.