Rory McIlroy keeps Open challenge on track with spirited second-round showing

Cameron Smith races into Open Championship lead but Rory McIlroy stays in touch - REUTERS
Cameron Smith races into Open Championship lead but Rory McIlroy stays in touch - REUTERS

The spectator shouting "win it" at the top of his voice on the 15th clocked a renewed sense of fighting spirit around Rory McIlroy at this Open Championship.

An eight-year major drought and that barren run is heavy around the neck, but the gutsy McIlroy of old is back and maintaining the heat on the two Camerons in front of him. On Thursday he had broken a spectator's hand with a rare wayward shot, but Friday's enduring image was of McIlroy's own clenched fist as he secured a birdie at the notoriously difficult 17th.

He was in the second cut of rough after his drive, but fashioned a glorious escape on what is arguably the most challenging hole of all in golf. Many contenders for the Claret Jug have fallen foul of the famous 495-yard Road Hole over the years.

But, for a home crowd hero who has struggled for so many years to regain the title, his fifth and final birdie in tough conditions felt symbolic. With the toxic Saudi-sponsored LIV row an unwelcome sideshow, never has a British crowd craved more for their hero to get his hands back on the trophy. A huge roar – second only to the emotional farewell that Tiger Woods had received having missed the cut – greeted McIlroy as he walked the 18th.

But the Northern Irishman means business this year, and there was just a half wave as he marched towards the green to complete his round on 68, to go ten under. Again there were no big grins, just a brief acknowledgement of thanks as he turned on his heels to walk back to the clubhouse within three shots of leader Cameron Smith.

The world number two, 33, has not won any of golf’s major prizes for eight years but, despite feeling he could have shot even better, he believes he is now well poised. “Overall I felt like it was a good day,” said the 2014 Open champion. “I’m in a good position going into the weekend and that’s all I can really ask of myself.

“There was a couple of short putts there that I could have held and could have been a bit closer to the lead. It would have been nice to make a three at 18. But it’s two really, really solid rounds to open with and really happy with that.”

McIlroy has enjoyed a strong year on the major front, finishing in the top 10 at the Masters, US PGA Championship and US Open, but now feels he needs to push on and claim a title. He said: “I know I’ve got the game. I just need to go out and play my game and play my golf over the next two days and that’s all I can do."

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts after a missed birdie on the 18th during day two - PA
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts after a missed birdie on the 18th during day two - PA

McIlroy reached the turn in one-under-par 35 before igniting with three successive birdies at the start of the back nine. He dropped a shot at the 15th but holed a testing putt for par on the 16th and then birdied the tricky 17th Road Hole.

“I think 16 and 17 were important after making the bogey on 15,” he said. “I felt like I saved a couple of shots there.”

After his 63 in 2010, there had been a horrible 80 the next day at the Old Course. Then, in 2015, there was the football injury that scuppered his chance of defending his title on the venue he calls his "Holy Grail".

But there was no hangover to blot the copybook this time. McIlroy was almost as good as his  superb 66 on Thursday. He will be delighted that Viktor Hovland birdied the 18th to join him on ten under and ensure he will not have to play with LIV rebel Dustin Johnson in the third round.

The other Briton leading the charge going into the weekend is St Andrews specialist Tyrrell Hatton, despite his insistence that winning on the Old Course counts for little at the Open. The 30-year-old Englishman won back-to-back Dunhill Links Championships in 2016 and 2017, and was runner-up the year after, although that event only features two rounds at the Home of Golf.

Hatton then shot a 66 to go into the weekend eight under and tied sixth. “There’s still a lot of golf left to play,” he said. “Although I’ve won around here in the past, the course is very different to how we play in October and the pin positions are a lot tighter. But if I play good golf, then, sure, I’ll have a chance.”

Hatton has a reputation for having a fiery temperament and that was evident on his opening hole when, having missed a short birdie putt, he hurled his ball into the Swilcan Burn in frustration.

But he composed himself in an excellent six-under effort that puts him in with a shout of emulating countryman Matt Fitzpatrick who won last month’s US Open. Fitzpatrick also shot a 66 to move to six-under.

150th Open Championship round two, as it happened:

09:14 PM

That's all from us today

There will be another live blog tomorrow for moving day. Will Cam Smith run away with things or will the multiple major champions on the leaderboard hunt him down?

08:41 PM

McIlroy has company on 10-under

Viktor Hovland has birdied the 18th and those two will be in the penultimate group tomorrow. What an exhibition of driving those two will put on tomorrow.

08:30 PM

Just a par for McIlroy at the 18th

Took putter from the Valley of Sin and his approach effort was a little heavy-handed. The birdie putt back from 12 feet or so burned the left edge, but given he pinched a birdie on 17 he can feel satisfied with his day. Follows a 66 with a 68, and will start Saturday three shots behind in sole possession of third.

08:19 PM

To the 18th tee...

This hole is into some hurting wind this evening, although it is dying down, and McIlroy pulls driver. Hits a hard fade and tries to get it running up there, and his ball scampers into the Valley of Sin. Very nearly on the front edge, a good result but not the easiest up-and-down.

08:14 PM

What a birdie for McIlroy!

That is more than picking up just one stroke. McIlroy is rewarded for having the courage to play his second through the air, and his putt from 22 feet breaks from left to right and falls in the front door. McIlroy back to 10-under with a birdie chance coming on the 18th.

Back on the 16th, Hovland got up and down from the sand to stay at nine-under.

08:07 PM

Brilliance from McIlroy on the Road Hole...

That looked foolishly brave to attempt to fly his second all the way to the green - it brought the jumper, the road and all kinds of numbers into play - but his shot dropped out of the sky and settled softly around 25 feet from the cup. A chance to steal 1.5 shots on the field with a birdie on the 17th.

08:03 PM

Off the 17th...

McIlroy's drive is a fraction left, no chance of him flirting with the OB down the right, and comes to rest in the primary rough. Might be able to run his second into the mouth of the green from there.

Back at the 16th and on the same score, Hovland has found the back bunker greenside.

07:54 PM

McIlroy holds his nerve to avoid back-to-back bogeys

Was a well-thought second from rough but his first putt come up shy, leaving one of those nervy ones from six feet, but he was equal to it. Keeps McIlroy at nine-under, and he will want a four-three finish.

07:49 PM

Hovland has holed out for eagle on the 15th!

What a return to form this is! His iron shot from the wispy rough on the 15th took one bounce on the green, and then one look at the hole before falling in. The shot of the day, no doubt. Hovland jumps to nine-under and on to the first page of the leaderboard. What a bonus on one of the Old Course's harder holes.

07:43 PM

Tyrrell Hatton on his chances this weekend

"There's still a lot of golf left to play," he said. "Although I've won around here in the past, the golf course is very different to how we play in October and the pin positions are a lot tighter.

"If I play good golf, then, sure, we'll have a chance, but it's definitely not a time to get ahead of ourselves."

07:41 PM

Hovland back to seven-under

A very good up and down from short of the par five 14th, and the birdie gets him moving in the right direction again. Alongside him, Justin Thomas matches his birdie to move to three-under.

07:35 PM

Bogey for McIlroy

Has putted so well over these first few days, but he played for break that was not there. Falls back to nine-under, four adrift of Smith. Can he respond over the final three holes?

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts to a bogie on the 15th during day two of The Open  - PA
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts to a bogie on the 15th during day two of The Open - PA

07:32 PM

McIlroy finds the very back edge from the rough on 15

Leaves himself a putt of approximately 100-feet, which he makes a splendid job of but it still runs five or six feet past. A knee-knocker for par awaits, to stay at double digits under par.

07:24 PM

Just a par for McIlroy on the 14th...

Just could not get his approach putt close enough with the bank to navigate. McIlroy stays at 10-under as he walks to the 15th tee. The next three holes are a difficult stretch, being on the same score on the 18th tee would be a decent result.

McIlroy's drive at the 15th is cut away to the right and settles in some fairly thick rough. Will do well to find the putting surface from there.

07:13 PM

McIlroy's second into the par five

Tries to chase one up the false front with a driving iron but it does not make the journey. Still a chance to make another birdie but there is a lot of undulation between he and the hole.

Lee Westwood has just made a rare birdie at the par four 17th to move to five-under.

07:07 PM

How things stand...

Cameron Young birdied the 18th to take sole possession of second, a very commendable performance given he slept on the lead overnight.

McIlroy scared the hole for birdie at the 13th and is building momentum, launching a peach of a tee shot a long way down the fairway on the par five 14th.

06:50 PM

McIlroy makes his third birdie in a row!

McIlroy joins Young at 10-under, three behind Smith. Can McIlroy find one or two more coming home? Young has made a creditable four on the 17th.

06:42 PM

Schauffele ruling finally settled

The rules officials stand firm and make him go back on the same line under a one-stroke penalty. The right decision.

06:37 PM

Schauffele in some trouble on the 12th

Has a rules official telling him how to replace his ball in a gorse bush: "I'd say that's a little generous!"


They found his ball by standing on it, so are having to put the ball back where it was. Schauffele is trying to get line-of-sight relief from a grandstand, the rules officials are telling him they do not think it is realistic for him to play from there and that it should be a penalty drop.

I make the officials right, in this case. There's no way Schauffele would hack out of there, grandstand or no grandstand.

06:27 PM

Cam Smith cleans up for par on the 18th

Was far from his best wedge shot, pulled long and left, but a solid two-putt means he sets the target at 13-under after 36 holes. A scintillating 64 built on some bold driving and lights-out putting.

Back at the 12th, McIlroy has found another green on a driveable short par four so a good chance to bank another birdie.

06:19 PM

McIlroy converts for birdie!

That is a gem of a two on the third-hardest hole on the course, and McIlroy moves to nine-under and within four. The putting stroke is holding up well.

Smith has played safely into the 18th fairway with a driving iron. The closing hole is back into the draft so not as easily driveable.

Another player enjoying a good day is Viktor Hovland who is seven-under for the tournament walking to the 11th tee.

06:13 PM

Smith with a gutsy par putt on the 17th....

That is the favourite club in Smith's bag, and it is dissecting the field at the moment. Rolls in his par putt from 12 feet or so on the Road Hole, to walk to the 18th tee on 13-under.

Back at the 11th, McIlroy hit a glorious high draw to the left pin. A birdie chance from around 15 feet down the hill coming up.

06:08 PM

Great effort from McIlroy for the eagle...

But it slips by on the right side. That is the easiest of birdies though, and it gets McIlroy back to eight-under with the testing par three 11th to come.

Up at the 17th, Smith has laid up short of the green from the rough, leading a long putt or a chip from 30 yards or so. Should have taken the double bogey out of the equation.

06:00 PM

McIlroy has driven the downwind 10th...

The gasps from the crowd told you it was right on line, and wind assisted his ball bounds up the false front and comes to rest only 20 feet or so from the hole. An eagle putt upcoming.

Smith's tee shot on the 17th is safe but in the left rough.

05:58 PM

Cam Smith banks another par

Assured with the putter yet again, and there is just one more tough hole between he and the clubhouse. It is the dangerous Road Hole, though. I do not think his tee shot will be going right...

05:54 PM

Just a par for McIlroy at the 9th

He turns at one-under 35, seven-under for the tournament. That is probably two shots more than he was hoping for but he remains very much in this even though he is currently six behind Smith. His target will be finishing in double digits by the end of the day.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy putts on the 4th green during the second round of the British Open - AP
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy putts on the 4th green during the second round of the British Open - AP

05:45 PM

Birdie for Cameron Young at the 14th

Two big hits into the wind down the par five and his short game did the rest. Smith's lead is only two, and he has played safe well to the left on the 16th. Understandable with Out of Bounds down the right.

05:41 PM

Smith's birdie putt was always high on the 15th

But that is potentially tricky hole out of the way. Makes no mistake with the par putt back, and he walks to the 16th three clear of the field and still eight-under for his day.

05:36 PM

Three-putts from long range on the 8th for McIlroy

It was a loose tee shot out to the right on the par three that was to blame, really. His first putt was a good one, but from five or six feet his putt dribbled right. The bogey drops him back to seven-under.

Up ahead on the 15th, Cam Smith has hit another corking iron shot which is right over the pin. Another birdie putt from around 15 feet or so coming up.

05:26 PM

Smith follows it up with a good drive down the 15th

It is a narrow fairway with the wind hurting and off the left, but he finds it. Could well be an opportunity to set up another look at birdie. Anywhere on these huge greens is a chance for him, given how well he putts.

05:23 PM

Cam Smith holes for eagle from fully 70 feet!

Smith's eagle try on the 14th featured a huge break from right-to-left, and it was tracking all the way from long range before disappearing into the cup. The Australian is now three clear of the field and EIGHT-under for the day with four to go. The next three are quite testing, though.

05:16 PM

McIlroy makes his birdie at the 7th

After a steady but unspectacular start that is now two birdies in three holes for McIlroy, and he moves to eight-under. Three shots behind Cam Smith, for the time being. More birdie chances to come around the loop.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy tees off on the 5th during the second round  - Reuters
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy tees off on the 5th during the second round - Reuters

05:15 PM

A view from the ground of Tiger's farewell

By Gary Payne, at St Andrews

Quite a surreal moment standing in the crowd lining the 18th fairway outside the Rusacks Hotel as Rory McIlroy and last year's champion Collin Morikawa tee off from the 1st, at almost the identical moment Tiger Woods plays possibly his last ever tee shot at St. Andrews on the 18th.

Tiger casually bypasses Rory who drives down the left. Tiger gets a hero's reception, comfortably the loudest of the day, the entire way down the fairway.

The grandstand, which only filled up in the past half an hour, is on its feet.

All the talk around me is “will we ever see Tiger here again?”.

Tiger finishes his hole and waves his cap at all sides of the crowd. It felt like a poignant goodbye, a historic moment to witness.

Moments later the crowd disperses and empties out. There’s no bigger draw in golf than Tiger.

05:14 PM

Gorgeous wedge from McIlroy on the 7th

He zips his approach back from beyond the pin to leave around six feet or so for another birdie.

On the 14th, Cam Smith his hit two good blows down the par five and will have an eagle putt from 60 or 70-feet away.

05:04 PM

No birdie for Smith or McIlroy

As you were for both players, who are looking very solid. Neither has dropped a shot in their second round so far.

McIlroy is four back at seven-under, but has short par fours to attack at the 7th, 9th, 10th and 12th.

On the 12th, Young fails to get up and down for birdie and stays at 10-under.

04:58 PM

Birdie putt coming up for McIlroy...

Played a very positive pitch that scared the hole but spin was in short supply. Probably 15 feet or so coming back for back-to-back birdied.

Cam Smith has struck a cracking iron shot into the 13th and will have a birdie look of his own upcoming.

04:48 PM

Magnificent tee shots on the 6th

With the favourable breeze from the right, Schauffele and McIlroy take on the 420-yard hole with a driver. Schauffele hits a good one, but McIlroy's is even better, running up to just 20 or 30 yards short of the putting surface.

Cam Smith has also hit a fine tee shot at the tricky 13th. He has a tougher stretch of the course to navigate coming up.

04:44 PM

McIlroy makes his first birdie of the day!

He rattles in the putt for a four after the first attempt was repelled off the shoulder in the green as expected. That was hit with some authority, and McIlroy moves to seven-under. It would have been a drain to make par there after such a long drive.

04:42 PM

Chances goes for Cameron Young to tie the lead

After a good tee shot on the short par four 10th, the birdie putt slips by and he remains at 10-under and in sole possession of second.

04:37 PM

Cam Smith cleans up for par on the 12th

Left himself a tester for par, but that silky stroke worked its magic again and he remains the tournament leader at 11-under par.

04:36 PM

McIlroy with a mistake with his second

Probably a wedge downwind, and although it comes to rest on the green, he has an enormous mound to navigate. Might not be able to stop that long-range eagle putt within 10 feet. Needed to be half a club longer.

04:27 PM

To the par five 5th...

With the wind switching around, the breeze is now off the right and helping. McIlroy rides it with a drive that bounds down the left side of the fairway. Will only have a short-ish iron from there, good chance to open his birdie account for the day.

04:15 PM

Cameron Young reaches double digits

The overnight leader has converted on the short par four 9th, and he is just one behind Smith. A good recovery from the American after a bogey on the 2nd.

04:13 PM

Smith reached 11-under!

Gets down in two from long-range on the 10th green and that is another birdie for the Australian. He is now two clear of the field. McIlroy secured his par at 4th, but there is now some pressure on him to find birdies around the turn. That is the scoreable part of the course.

03:54 PM

Cam Smith on the 10th

Cheered on by some well-oiled fans around the tee, has launched a driver to the back of the green on this short par four. Should be able to two-putt from there for another birdie to reach 11-under.

Back on the fourth, McIlroy was looking right with his drive but it hangs on the short grass and misses all the divots.

Cam Smith of Australia reacts on the eighteenth hole during the first round - SHUTTERSTOCK
Cam Smith of Australia reacts on the eighteenth hole during the first round - SHUTTERSTOCK

03:49 PM

Birdie chance slips by for McIlroy

A positive stroke from just inside 20 feet on the third, so remains at six-under. Alongside him, Xander Schauffele holed a lengthy birdie try to reach four-under. Schauffele is the man in form having won on his last three starts.

03:46 PM

Overnight leader Cameron Young...

Has made a steady start at one-under through seven holes, but has more company on the leaderboard after the moves made by Johnson, Scheffler and new leader Cam Smith.

Patrick Reed has just rolled in a birdie at the 10th to reach four-under.

03:44 PM

The putter working well for McIlroy so far this week

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy putts on the 1st green during day two of The Open at the Old Course - PA
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy putts on the 1st green during day two of The Open at the Old Course - PA

03:40 PM

Par-par start for McIlroy

And his iron off the tee on the 3rd looks to have hugged the left side of the fairway. Just a flick with a wedge from there. An early birdie would be nice, but level par on the 5th tee is never a bad situation given the two par fives and short par fours to follow.

03:32 PM

We have a new leader

Cam Smith has made a birdie two on the 8th to reach double digits under par. No surprise to see an Australian thrive in firm and fast conditions, and the short game test of the Old Course always looked up Smith's alley.

03:28 PM

Back to the golf and McIlroy...

He holed a par putt from some 10 or 12 feet on the 1st, which any golfer will tell you is a stressful but confidence-boosting way to start a round. He has launched a driver a long way down the 2nd which has run into the light rough on the left, but no problem. It looks like the wind has switched back to the prevailing direction, so holes 13 to 17 will be hurting and from the left later. That certainly gives them more teeth.

03:25 PM

Tiger speaking post-round

My two day's play was I made my share of mistakes and struggled to get a feel for the greens, left a lot of putts short. Hit a couple of poor shots that ended up in poor spots, and just never got anything going.

It was very emotional for me. I've been coming here since 1995. I think the next one comes around in 2030, so I think this felt like it might have been my last British Open here at St Andrews.

I understand what Jack and Arnold have gone through in the past. Just the collective warmth from the fans, they understand what golf is about and what it takes to be an Open Champion.

03:22 PM

Tiger's tearful farewell

Tiger Woods of the U.S. acknowledges the fans as he walks on the 18th - Reuters
Tiger Woods of the U.S. acknowledges the fans as he walks on the 18th - Reuters
Tiger Woods of the United States acknowledges the crowd as he crosses the Swilcan Bridge  - Getty Images
Tiger Woods of the United States acknowledges the crowd as he crosses the Swilcan Bridge - Getty Images
Tiger Woods of the U.S. reacts on the 18th during the second round - Reuters
Tiger Woods of the U.S. reacts on the 18th during the second round - Reuters

03:18 PM

Tiger's race is run

Once the cheers have died down Tiger plays a delicate chip to within six-foot of the hole.

His birdie putt sums up his round - the putt flirted with the hole but doesn't drop and he has to be content with a four.

He misses the cut on nine-over, a three-over round of 75. It definitely was not vintage Tiger but I defy anyone not to have had a vague lump in the throat has he walked down the famous fairway with something close to tears in his eyes.

Matt Fitzpatrick ends with a par to head into Saturday on six-under - a fine round that has got him right in the mix.

My round, too, has come to a close and I will now leave you with Telegraph Sport's very own Champion Golfer of the Year, Dan Zeqiri who will guide you through the rest of the day's play.

03:08 PM

There's no wave goodbye from Tiger on Swilcan Bridge

But his playing partners do let him walk ahead to take in the adulation of the huge crowd who, no matter how badly he plays, will always want to watch the all-time great. He looks emotional, rare for Tiger, as he takes in the applause.

03:05 PM

Rory's second round is underway

He drives his tee shot down the famous fairway and that's in a perfect position.

Here's a stat from Kyle Porter (@kyleportercbs)

Rory's major-winning starts.
65-66 (1st after 36)
67-75 (T5)
66-66 (1st)
66-67 (1st)
It's probably an overstatement to say the tournament hinges on what he does over the next 18 holes, but it's not much of one.

03:01 PM

One quick thing

Tiger's group is an hour quicker today than yesterday - the slow play of the first round was, as Fitzpatrick said, pitiful.

02:59 PM

Pars for Tiger and Fitzpatrick at 17

Both have decent looks at birdie on the infamous hole but both are forced to settle for fours - never a bad score on the Road Hole.

Tiger's birdie attempt is, like a few of his putts these first two days, short - never a good sign, but for him shocking.

The Big Beast stays at nine-over and Fitzpatrick stays at six-under.

02:56 PM

Great putt from Rahm at 16

It was a 15-footer for par and keeps him at three-under. Another bogey after his first at 15 wouldn't have been on the menu for the Spaniard. He's still in a decent position with two holes to go.

02:45 PM

It's a double for Tiger at 16

He two putts from six feet and moves to nine-over - ouch. That was all about the poor tee shot that ultimately left him with a brutal chip for his third.

If in search of good news then I can let you know that his playing partner Matt Fitzpatrick is now at six-under. He birdied the 16th and is six-under for his round. He says he's not a good links golfer - based on today many would disagree.

Tiger Woods  - GETTY IMAGES
Tiger Woods - GETTY IMAGES

02:40 PM

The Americans are dominating the leaderboard

Seven (DJ, Scheffler, Cantlay, Young, Gooch, Burns and Theegala) of the top 10 are from Stateside.

02:38 PM

More trouble for Tiger

This time at the 16th. His approach, after a wayward tee shot, leaves him with a tricky chip over a deep bunker guarding the front of the green. He tries a huge flop shot that makes it over the hazard before the ball trickles back into it - arggghhhh...He gets it out and has a putt for bogey.

02:26 PM

Spieth went into the Coffin bunkers...

...on the 13th and, like most who end up in one of the three fairway hazards, dropped a shot. BUT the 2017 champion gets that shot immediately back at the par-five 14th - he's tied for 12th on five-under.

02:18 PM

Westy birdies the first

Lee Westwood has started in the perfect fashion - his approach at went over the flag and left him with a 10-footer for birdie -  a chance he doesn't pass up. The Englishman is now at five-under. 

02:13 PM

Tyrrell Hatton speaks...

On his round of 66...

"I am really happy with that - it was a slow start but got the momentum on six and happy with how it played out."

On his previous success at the Old Course...

"St Andrews is a very special palace - it has a certain feeling about it...I am looking forward to the weekend and hope I can continue to play good golf."

02:10 PM

Cameron Young back to seven-under

The first-round leader dropped a shot at the second - an errant drive meant his approach was short of the green and he was unable to get it up and down.

02:06 PM

Adam Scott speaks..

The Australian was four-over after six yesterday, but since then he's 11-under, thanks, in part, to the round of the day seven-under today...

"I was much more solid today from the get-go and I manged to keep it going all day."


02:03 PM

For umpteenth time today

A putt doesn't drop for Tiger - he leaves the 14th green with a par and stays at seven-over.

02:00 PM

Tiger's in Hell bunker

That sort of sums up his two days at St Andrews...

When he won on the Old Course in 2000 the Big Beast stayed out of every one of the 112 bunkers on the fabled links throughout the duration of the four days - truly remarkable. He's been in a few today and yesterday but he escapes the famous hazard on the par-five 14th with his third and even has a chance of a birdie.

01:51 PM

Cam Smith's best Open finish is T-20

Which, when you consider just how good his putting and iron-play are is strange. He's now three-under through three so far and at eight-under. The Mullett man, who struggled on links, has suddenly turned into Tom Watson...can he keep it up?

Cam Smith - REUTERS
Cam Smith - REUTERS

01:42 PM

The overnight leader

Cameron Young starts with par at the first, to keep him on eight-under. He did have a 16ft chance of birdie with the unusual pin position at the front of the green but couldn't drain his first effort. He remains on eight-under.

T'other Cameron, Smith, follows his birdie at the first with another at the second and is bombing up to seven-under.

01:38 PM

Why has this year's Open been cursed by slow play?

There are some mitigating factors, but not as many as the professional slow coaches claim, writes Tom Morgan:

Play is inevitably slowed down by seven shared greens, with only the first, ninth, 17th and 18th holes having their own individual greens. Many of the par-fours are driveable off the tee for longer hitters, leading to players waiting for long periods at multiple points during their rounds.

You can read his full report here.

01:30 PM

Smith starts with a bang

Cameron Smith has rattled in a 50-foot birdie putt at the first after yesterday's 67 to climb to six-under.

01:22 PM

Scheffler chips across the Valley of Sin

And it's a beautifully played shot leaving him with a three-footer for birdie and a share of second at eight-under. He, obviously, nails the putt and the world No 1 is right up there at the halfway stage.

Also very much part of the conversation is Tyrrell Hatton - there hasn't been an English winner of the Claret Jug since Sir NF (Nick Faldo, in case you were wondering...) in 1992. Hatton has been successful on the Old Course before and his birdie at the last also gets him to eight-under. That round of 66 has the sometimes-angry golfer smiling, thank goodness...

01:16 PM

No fireworks from Tiger on the back nine

But the Big Beast is level-par for his past five holes. All the damage was done yesterday and he can make plans for the weekend. He stays at seven-over.

01:08 PM

DJ takes sole lead

The American's eagle putt on 18 leaves him with a wee knee-knocker, but he makes no mistake and drains the six-footer for birdie. That's a five-under round of 67, moving him to nine-under.

He had a two-shot lead after 36 holes the home of golf in 2015 but weekend rounds of 75-75 scuppered any designs he had on the Claret Jug. He'll be hoping history doesn't repeat itself.

Playing partner Adam Scott nearly drains his long eagle attempt, but the birdie gets him to seven-under and a tie for third. The Australian former Masters champion has put a fine round together - seven-under, the best of the day so far.

Dustin Johnson at the 18th - PA
Dustin Johnson at the 18th - PA

01:00 PM

Poulter is deadly from downtown

He's just fired another monster putt - this one at the third - he's back to four-under, having dropped a shot at the third. That will do his strokes-gained-putting stats no harm at all.

12:56 PM

DJ's drive at 18 just stays north of the Valley of Sin

A two putt will take him to nine-under and the sole lead.

Dustin Johnson - AFP
Dustin Johnson - AFP

12:53 PM

DJ will have a great chance to take the sole lead at 18

He's just parred the infamous Road Hole, after a huge drive and regulation two-putt - the flag is on the front right of the green, so the Road Hole bunker shouldn't really be a factor today.

12:52 PM

Spieth and Rahm both birdie the ninth

Speith is now at five-under and Rahm at three-under - both moving in the right direction today, as with a lot of big names.

Meanwhile on the 16th Scheffler misses his chance to get to eight-under as his birdie attempt misses on the high side. Hatton also has to settle for a par and stays at seven-under.

12:44 PM

Scheffler has a sand-iron into the 16th

He plays a fine shot, and is a bit unlucky he couldn't get it to spin back closer to the pin. He'll have a 12-foot putt to join the leaders at eight-under.

Hatton is also on the dance floor and he'll have a putt to also get to eight-under.

12:35 PM

Cameron Young has company at the top of the leaderboard

And it's Dustin Johnson who joins his fellow American. DJ has birdied the 16th to get to eight-under.

Back in 2015 he dominated the first two rounds before the wind blew and his challenge fell away over the weekend. He'll hope history doesn't repeat itself this time.

Dustin Johnson at St Andrews - GETTY IMAGES
Dustin Johnson at St Andrews - GETTY IMAGES

12:29 PM

Cantlay fires in his fourth birdie of the day

The world No 4 is putting together a fine round - he's posted his fourth birdie in just seven holes to get to six-under. 

Some big names are now breathing down the neck of leader Cameron Young - who's been on top of the leaderboard for nearly 24 hours now...

12:24 PM

Poulter's putting well, again...and is booed, again...

He got booed again BUT this time he didn't nearly hook his tee shot into the town. Not only that but the Saudi rebel and social media star nails a 45-foot putt for birdie to move to four-under.

Ian Poulter - REUTERS
Ian Poulter - REUTERS

12:20 PM

Hatton is heating up

He knows, likes and has done well on the Old Course before and he taps in for birdie at the par-five 14th to get to seven-under.

Scheffler misses a short putt at the same hole and has to settle for par - he stays at seven-under.

12:13 PM

Birdie chance for Tiger

It's on the par-three eighth and it's a 25 footer that, as with several of his putts this morning, gave a good impression of a ball thinking about going in, but it stayed visible.

He won't make the cut - barring an unlikely miracle - but can he offer glimpses of his past brilliance on the back nine? Let's hope so.

He stays at seven-over.

12:07 PM

Talor Gooch's fine round is over

And the world No 40 end his 18 on seven-under, thanks to a birdie at the last. That's opening rounds of 68, 69 and he's second at the moment. You suspect he won't be second come the end of the day but he's in a good spot.

11:55 AM

Cantlay is often spoken about as a future major winner

And the American is three-under for the first five holes to move to five-under. The Big Names are certainly making their moves this morning.

11:52 AM

Scottie on a run

Since his opening bogey the world No 1 has moved from solid to spectacular. Scheffler's fired in three birdies in a row (from the 10th) and he's all by himself in second at seven-under. It's only his second Open and, having finished in the top 10 at Royal St George's last year, I think it's fair to say he's adjusted very well to seaside golf...

Scottie Scheffler  - GETTY IMAGES
Scottie Scheffler - GETTY IMAGES

11:46 AM

Tiger bogeys the sixth

To drop to seven-over, and the chances of him making the cut are gossamer thin now. The five was always likely once he found the pot bunker off the tee, he was forced to chip out and his approach left him with a monster putt for par.

11:44 AM

Sergio Garcia is happy and he's not even on the LIV tour!

That's because the sometimes-stroppy Spaniard is seven-under for his round to move him to four-under for the tournament. He came within a whisker of winning the Claret Jug in 2007, ultimately blaming the 'golfing gods' for his defeat to Harrington in the play-off at Carnoustie. But can Sergio be smiling come Sunday?

11:39 AM

Troubled Tiger

Tiger Woods  - GETTY IMAGES
Tiger Woods - GETTY IMAGES

11:36 AM

David Howell on Sky comms

Is commenting on Tiger's movement saying his ankle isn't moving as it should be and that he looks stiff and troubled. Howeller speaks for all of us when he says 'it's not good to see.'

11:35 AM

Problems for Padriag

Harrington has double-bogeyed the sixth - missing a two-foot putt for bogey - and is now at one-over having dropped four shots in the past three holes.

11:30 AM

Tiger looks to be in serious discomfort

His tee shot at the sixth finds one of the pot bunkers and he's limping as he leaves the tee box.

11:26 AM

Another chance goes begging for Tiger

His birdie attempt at five flirts with the hole but stays at ground level - 10 years ago you'd have bet your house that he'd sink that. He stays at six-under.

Fitzpatrick also pars the fifth to remain at two-under.


11:22 AM

Tiger's second to the par-five fifth

Is fired to right by the pin - unfortunately it's the flag for the 13th on the green it shares with the fifth. He has a 130-foot putt for eagle, but he leaves his attempt well short (not for the first time) and he now has an eight-footer for birdie.

11:19 AM

The Big Names are making their moves

As well as DJ and Scott getting in red figures for the day Scottie Scheffler has also moved to five-under. The world No 1 bogeyed the first, but is two-under through nine since and in a strong position halfway through the second round.

11:16 AM

Talor Gooch is quietly going about his business

Goochie is three-under for the day and is second by himself on seven-under.

11:11 AM

Hatton is on the march

He's four-under for his past five holes. The angry Englishman is now at six-under, in a tie for second. He's won on the famous course before, although with different conditions and only two rounds, at the Dunhill Links. There hasn't been an English winner of The Open since Nick Faldo in 1992, is the duck to break this year?

Meanwhile, Adam Scott is also hot at the moment - the Australia moves to five-under (five-under for the round though 11).

Tyrrell Hatton  - REUTERS
Tyrrell Hatton - REUTERS

11:04 AM

Fitzpatrick is now at two-under

While Tiger bogeyed the fourth the US Open champion birdies and he's moving in the right direction.

11:02 AM

Tiger has a tough two-putt at the fourth

His approach was just shy of the green leaving him a long two-putt over a mound (one of the zillions on the Old Course). The touch is still there as he lags his first putt well - but he ultimately walks off the green with a  bogey. The short (three foot or so) par putt lips out and he's now back to  six-over - he cannot afford those...

10:57 AM

DJ moves to six-under

Back-to-back birdies at nine and 10  mean that the Saudi rebel is now tied for second spot alongside Rory and Talor Gooch, who is two-under for his round though 13.

Dustin Johnson  - AP
Dustin Johnson - AP

10:44 AM

Birdie for Tiger!

That's what they came to see - the 40 or so footer (distance isn't my forte, apols...) looked in from halfway and that's what he needs. He's back to five-over...can he use this momentum to launch another famous round?

10:43 AM

DJ out in one-under

He birdies the driveable ninth to get to five-under, lurking nicely.

Elsewhere, Tyrrell Hatton is at four-under after birdies and six and seven - the angry golfer doesn't look too pleased on the eighth as he leaves a birdie putt short.

10:40 AM

Half chance for Tiger at the third

Tiger has 100 yards left into the green  - he hit it as hard as he could to get a lot of spin, but he flies it too long and he'll have a 40-footer for birdie rather than something within 10 foot.

This is better from Tiger, though, he's giving himself chances and, so far, hasn't been fighting for par as he was yesterday.

10:38 AM

Birdies for Rahm and Spieth at the second

Just the start they would have wanted.

The pair both fired their approaches to within six foot - the American to within one foot. And they made no mistake.

Rahm is two-under through two to move to one-under, and the 2017 champion is now at two-under.

The rain is certainly helping - that pin position, just above a bowl, would be tricky if it wasn't for the damp conditions.

Jon Rahm - AP
Jon Rahm - AP

10:29 AM

The putts aren't dropping for Tiger

He has a decent look at birdie at the second - his approach leaving him with a 15 or so footer to get to five-over. It misses on the low side and a half-decent chance goes begging. He stays at six-over.

Matt Fitzpatrick, on the same hole, gets to one-under with a 20-foot birdie.

10:26 AM

Rahm back to level-par

The Spaniard's approach looked as though it might spin back into the burn but it stayed up and left him with a seven-footer which he drains.

10:20 AM

Harrington with back-to-back birdies

The twice Open champion is hot right now - he's now at five-under and if any veteran can be in contention come Sunday afternoon it's him.

10:17 AM

The group of Spieth, Rahm and Varner

Are all on the first green in two.

Rahm is one-over at the moment - you suspect he's had his worst round of the week already, but how many shots will be pick up today?

10:16 AM

Sergio Garcia has cracked a smile

That in itself is newsworthy (the stoppy Spaniard has often been known to be a moody fellow on the fairways...) but also newsworthy is that the former Masters champion is four-under for the front nine - he's just eagled  the ninth to move to one-under for the tournament.

10:13 AM

No Swilcan Burn disaster for Tiger today

Woods' approach safely flies the famous hazard and he's got a 40-foot putt for birdie. He leaves the putt short but has no problems with the second putt and stays at six-over.

He left quite a few putts short yesterday as well - if he's to produce something special today he'll need to be more aggressive with the flat stick.

Playing partner Matt Fitzpatrick has a good look at birdie - his ball flirting with the left edge of the cup before refusing to drop. He stays at level-par.

Tiger Woods is wrapped up this morning  - REUTERS
Tiger Woods is wrapped up this morning - REUTERS

10:06 AM

Harrington with the ideal start!

The 2007 and 2008 Open champion was three-under overnight. And the man in form on the Senior Tour has brought that confidence to St Andrews. He's birdied the first - his approach was stiffed to two feet of the tricky front pin - to get to four-under.

Harrington  - REUTERS
Harrington - REUTERS

10:00 AM

Tiger's second round is underway

The projected cut is level-par so he needs at least a six-under 66 to make the weekend.

One thing's for sure, Tiger will definitely think he can make the cut - the mental side still seems strong. But what will the body allow him to do today? The crowd will will him on, his opening tee shot is safely down the fairway and NOT, as far as I can tell, in a divot as it was yesterday.

09:55 AM

It's nearly Tiger time

The Big Beast is on the putting green doing what looks like, to this creaking body at least, some frightening stretches.

09:50 AM

Paul Casey is back to four-under

He started off like a train yesterday to get to four-under at the turn, but fell away on the back nine to end his round at one-under. Well, it's deja vu all over again as the Englishman has once again started well. He's just birdied the sixth - he's three-under through six - tasty. Can he keep it up?

09:39 AM

Look after your ball

The weather isn't horrific, but it's not calm either as this pic of Scheffler's caddie shielding his player's ball shows.

Shielding the ball  - REUTERS
Shielding the ball - REUTERS

09:34 AM

Scheffler remains at three-under

The world No 1 hasn't picked up the shot he lost at the first - he's through four holes now. He's now on the fifth tee - the par five. The wind is favourable for the front nine today so Scottie has a chance to get back to four-under now.

His drive is long, perfect bringing it back down to the centre of the fairway.

09:30 AM

There was much discussion about what golfers were wearing yesterday

From Justin Thomas' dangerously tight trousers and lack of socks, to Barclay Brown's bucket hat, to Phil Mickelson's non-collared t-shirt, to a plethora of hoodies, sartorial style was a hot topic during round one.

So what are you allowed to wear and what is strictly forbidden wardrobe-wise at The Open?

Well, as far as I've been able to find out the only real item that is definitely not to be worn on the hallowed links is jeans...

"The wearing of jeans of any colour is not permitting whilst practising or competing during any stage of The Open."

The War on Jeans has begun at the R&A clubhouse...I am currently wearing a pair while blogging, in solidarity with the versatile fashion statement - rather jeans than JT's tight trousers...

The lower half of Justin Thomas' sartorial statement during the first round - GETTY IMAGES
The lower half of Justin Thomas' sartorial statement during the first round - GETTY IMAGES

09:19 AM

Marcus Armitage is out in 33

The likeable Englishman is three-under for the front nine and at four-under for the tournament - his is the best round out there at the moment. His best finish in a major is T53 - in this tournament last year - but he's looking very good to top that this year.

Marcus Armitage - GETTY IMAGES
Marcus Armitage - GETTY IMAGES

09:07 AM

The wind looks as though it's picking up

It looks a wee bit chilly and the rain is still falling - still more mizzle than monsoon, but it's harder than it was earlier.

09:01 AM

Niemann comes a cropper at the second

He's a wonderful young talent but the Chilean found Cheape's bunker off the tee and it proved to be an expensive mistake. He had to chip out sideways before his approach found the front of the green. A poor first putt saw the ball go sideways over a mound rather than towards the hole and he ultimately walks off the hole with a double-bogey six to fall back to one-under. 

Meanwhile, a hole ahead  Dustin Johnson birdies to get back to four-under.

08:47 AM

A huge talking point so far has been about the slow play

Here's our golf correspondent, James Corrigan, on the problem.

There seems to be a lot of glib comments on social media - who would ever have thought it?! - regarding the pace of play here and the modern pros being essentially to blame. While the pros have been allowed by the Tours and governing bodies to proceed snail-like and be overly deliberate - there have been pathetically few penalties imposed over the years - the problem here is a complex issue involving…

1 - the vagaries of the Old Course and its shared greens and landing areas and the pinch points etc

2 - the failure of the powers-that-be to rein back the ball, sort out the distance issue, and then instead have to resort to brutal pin positions to protect the layout

3 - the firm conditions themselves.

Here’s hoping the bit of rain we’ve had we help quicken it up today. The third and fourth rounds should be about 41/2 hours.

08:41 AM

Not only is Swilcan Burn in play with the approach at the first

It's also playing with golfers' minds on the green. Scheffler, as with DJ before him, hits a poor first putt leaving him with a tricky putt for par.

The burn may be a few yards beyond the pin, but you can see it putting back towards the flag and it's prompting a bit of hesitancy in a few putting strokes.

Scheffler, as with DJ, three putts on the opening hole and he drops back to three-under.

Playing partners Hatton and Niemann start with pars and stay at three-under and two-under respectively.

08:34 AM

Bogey for DJ at the first

It's early days but even though it's only at 357 yards today the first is playing over its par so man adding to that stat is Dustin Johnson. He's an the back of the green in two but his first putt leaves him a tricky six-footer for par which breaks at the last minute and he drops back to three-under.

Leishman posts a double bogey after his visit to the Swilcan Burn, he's at six-over now and really struggling to make the cut now.

Dustin Johnson on the first, on the way to an opening bogey  - REUTERS
Dustin Johnson on the first, on the way to an opening bogey - REUTERS

08:28 AM

Scottie Scheffler is making it look easy at the moment

He's in the form of his life and world No 1 by some distance. As if to illustrate my point he effortlessly posted a four-under 68 yesterday, once again quietly going about his business. His second round is underway with an iron safely down the fairway.

Playing partners Joaquin Niemann (three-under )and Tyrell Hatton (two-under) also safely get their rounds started.

08:23 AM

The pin on the first... only a few paces on the green, just beyond the famous/dreaded/historic (delete as applicable...) Swilcan Burn. That brings the water hazard into play and that's exactly what Mark Leishman has found out - the Aussie's approach finds the burn and that's just the start he didn't want having started the day on four-over...

08:21 AM

Goochie (not that one) is now at six-under

The world No 40 has birdied the third and joins Rory McIlroy in second place.

The greens are a bit damp and there is, perhaps, a chance to go low while the rain is around.

08:19 AM

The group of DJ, Adam Scott and Mark Leishman are on the first tee

It was good opening round for Saudi posterboy, Dustin Johnson, who fired a four-under 68, but the Australian pair have a bit of work to do. Scott is at level-par, with Leishman on four-over.

All three are away safely down the famous fairway.

08:15 AM

Talor Gooch joins the group at five-under

The American was one of the best of the late starters yesterday and he's clearly got enough Zs overnight as he's birdied the first to join Robert Dinwiddie and Cam Smith in joint third place.

08:00 AM

Si Woo Kim starts well

The South Korean has birdied the first to join the group on four-under. 

07:56 AM

Channelling my inner Michael Fish

Yep, it's time for a weather report...

It's currently raining - more mizzle than monsoon - but the sun is set to make an appearance just before noon. The wind isn't set to blow stronger than 13 miles an hour, so once again the main defence the golf course will have are those tucked pins (and a look at today's flags suggests that once again they are tucked away...).

Spectators brave the early alarm calls and rain at St Andrews 
Spectators brave the early alarm calls and rain at St Andrews

07:50 AM

So what to make of Tiger's opening round?

'He can no longer walk across St Andrews rolling contours pain-free, or even bend over to pick up a tee peg without flinching. As such, he has come to terms with his casting as a ceremonial golfer.'

While we wait to see how he does in today's second round, it's clear that even his most fervent of fans will have to admit he'll never get back to anywhere remotely close to the great golfer he once was.

Here's Oliver Brown's take on that horror first round -  Tiger Woods struggles on as Open romance collides with painful reality

Tiger Woods - AP
Tiger Woods - AP

07:43 AM

'We're watching more golf than we ever have'

That's not what some golf nut said while in the galleries on the Old Course, rather those were the words of none other than defending champion Collin Morikawa.

The American was complaining about the pace of play at the home of golf, with some groups taking over six hours to get through their 18 holes.

It's something that every golfer hates and certainly wouldn't have helped Tiger Woods, standing around for all that time.

Here's what some of the players had to say about it.

READ:  Matt Fitzpatrick brands Open pace of play 'a joke' with St Andrews rounds taking six hours

07:24 AM

Selected tee times

  • 08:03 Sungjae Im (Kor), Paul Casey (Eng), Gary Woodland

  • 08:14 Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott (Aus), Marc Leishman (Aus)

  • 08:25 Scottie Scheffler, Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Tyrrell Hatton

  • 09:47 Padraig Harrington (Irl), Thomas Pieters (Bel), Keith Mitchell

  • 09:58 Tiger Woods, Matt Fitzpatrick (Eng), Max Homa

  • 10:09 Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm (Esp), Harold Varner III

  • 12:09 Ian Poulter (Eng), Jamie Donaldson (Wal), Guido Migliozzi (Ita)

  • 12:31 Phil Mickelson, Lucas Herbert (Aus), Kurt Kitayama

  • 12:53 John Daly, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Tringale

  • 13:04 Cameron Smith (Aus), Brooks Koepka, Seamus Power (Irl)

  • 14:04 Stephen Dodd (Wal), JT Poston, Lee Westwood (Eng)

  • 14:49 Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Xander Schauffele

  • 15:10 Shane Lowry, Justin Thomas, Victor Hovland (Nor)

  • 15:21 Will Zalatoris, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Tony Finau

07:18 AM

A reminder of how the Leaderboard looks

Playing his his first Open Cameron Young shot a stunning 64 to have a two-shot lead after 18 holes. But some big names are lurking just behind him.

Eight-under: Cameron Young

Six-under: Rory McIlroy

Five-under: Cam Smith, Robert Dinwidde

Four-under: Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland, Brad Kennedy, Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson, Talor Gooch, Kurt Kitayama, Barclay Brown (a)

07:11 AM

Tiger Woods up against it

For obvious reasons there was a lot of focus on Tiger Woods coming into this historic Open (for those saying ‘when isn’t there any focus on the Big Beast?’ fair point…). How would he fare having not played since pulling out during the the US PGA Championship? Could his injured leg cope with the exertion of a slow round on the mounds of the Old Course? Could his experience of two wins on the hallowed fairways of the ‘Old Lady’ of Fife trump his complete lack of competitive play?

Just 10 minutes after his 2.59 tee time the answers to all those questions were all but answered. Woods double-bogeyed the first, having found the Swilcan Burn, and while it was more than possible he could claw those early dropped shots back there was always more hope than expectation that that would happen.

He was four-over through four and while he was able to register birdies at the ninth, 10th and 14th he carded a six-over round of 78, for a spot way back in T-146th.

It was a downcast Woods who spoke to the press after the horror round.

"It feels like I didn't really hit it that bad. I did have bad speed on the greens, yes," Woods said. "But I ended up in bad spots. Or just had some weird things happen. And that's just the way it goes.”

He went on to once again reveal how important it was for him to tee it up at the home of golf this week.

"(It was) very, very meaningful," he said, "All things considered, where I've been, I was hoping I could play this event this year. And I am. I just didn't do a very good job of it.

"The crowd were absolutely fantastic," he said. "So supportive. They were very respectful and very appreciative of all of us out there today, which was great.”

It goes without saying that Woods needs to make up considerable ground if he is to avoid missing the halfway cut at the scene of two of his greatest triumphs, in 2000 and 2005.

"Looks like I'm going to have to shoot 66 tomorrow to have a chance," he said. "Guys did it today. And that's my responsibility tomorrow to go ahead and do it.”

On the evidence of the first round only his most fervent supporters will back him to do just that. But he is Tiger Woods and if anyone can plot their way round this famous course when up against it it is him. But if he is to make the weekend then, regardless of all his remarkable wins and records, it will be one of his most senscational achievements.

The Big Beast gets his second round underway at 9.58. Stay here to find out how he does and for all the action from the home of golf.