Housemates Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner set the pace in the 147th Open Championship as Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy headed the European bid to end American dominance of golf’s majors.
Johnson, who is looking to become the first player in history to win major titles at Augusta, St Andrews and Carnoustie, added a 67 to his opening 69 to set the clubhouse target on six under par.
First-round leader Kisner looked set to surpass that with ease when he birdied the 13th and 14th to reach eight under, only to hit his second shot to the 18th into the Barry Burn and run up a double-bogey six.
That meant Fleetwood was just a shot off the lead after earlier defying miserable conditions to card the only bogey-free round of the day, his flawless 65 just two shots outside the course record he set in last year’s Dunhill Links Championship.
Tweet of the day
After visa problems meant he arrived in Scotland just hours before his opening round and had to play with borrowed clubs, Jhonattan Vegas deserved the slice of luck he enjoyed on the 18th on day two.
Shot of the day
Padraig Harrington’s drive on the sixth finished close to the out-of-bounds fence, but that did not stop the 2007 Carnoustie champion from playing the shot and manufacturing a birdie.
Round of the day
Tommy Fleetwood struggled to an opening 72 but reaped the rewards of some work on the range afterwards, carding six birdies in the only bogey-free round of the day on Friday.
Quote of the day
“I think it was important to get it out of the way, and next time I’ll bury him!” – Russell Knox jokes about his first experience of playing alongside Tiger Woods.
Stat of the day
The Golf Channel’s Justin Ray points out the similarities between this year and last year for 2017 runner-up Matt Kuchar.
The 12th played as the toughest hole thanks to a tricky pin position on the far left of the green on the 503-yard par four. Just four birdies were recorded by the 155-man field and 58 bogeys and 11 double bogeys or worse added up to a scoring average of 4.497.
Unsurprisingly the par-five 14th, which is just 10 yards longer than the 12th, was the easiest hole again, a front pin position contributing to 11 eagles, 92 birdies and just four bogeys, with the unfortunate Andrew Landry making the sole double bogey as the hole played to an average of 4.303.
On the up
The prospects of yet another American major winner coming from Carnoustie housemates Johnson, Kisner, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler. Johnson and Kisner share the lead on six under, but defending champion Spieth and Fowler are just three behind.
On the slide
Former Open champion Darren Clarke’s chances of making a flying start to his Champions Tour career after rounds of 82 and 83 left the 49-year-old dead last on 23 over par.