(CNN) -- Is Rory McIlroy saving his best for last?
The Northern Irishman carded a seven-under-par second round of 65 at the Australian Open Friday as he bids to end 2013 with a bang.
Former world No. 1 McIlroy has endured a frustrating year, failing to find his best form with his new Nike clubs and slipping to sixth in the world rankings.
But the 24-year-old golfer finished the day with nine birdies, and just two bogeys to move to 10 under for the tournament, only two strokes off leader and Australian favorite Adam Scott.
"Obviously when you come to a tournament where you're one of the headline acts or main attractions, you want to live up to that billing I guess," McIlroy joked with reporters.
"For the most part this year I haven't wherever I went. So it's nice," he added. "It's nice to reward the people that invite you down here and look after you so well."
The 2013 season has largely slipped by the two-time major winner McIlroy, who has struggled to recapture the form which saw him win four PGA Tour titles and two European Tour titles and the PGA Championship in 2012.
In contrast to McIlroy, Scott has enjoyed a stellar 2013.
The Australian has shot up to No. 2 in the world rankings, thanks in part to his first major triumph at the Masters in April.
The 33-year-old shot a course record 62 on Thursday and followed it up with a two-under 70 on Friday to move to 12 under for the opening two rounds.
Scott and McIlroy will be paired together for Saturday's third round at the Royal Sydney Golf Club.
"Obviously he (McIlroy) is one of the best players in the world, so I'm going to have to bring my best game and try and match it with him," said Scott.
He is aiming to complete the Australian Triple Crown, by adding the Australian Open titles to the Australian PGA and Australian Masters titles he has already claimed.
Robert Allenby in 2005 is the only player to have won the Australian Masters, Australian PGA and Australian Open in the same season.