Cameron Smith lit up St Andrews on Friday to lead the Open by two shots as Tiger Woods' challenge fizzled out meekly in the second round.
Smith birdied his first three holes and picked up three more shots before sinking a long snaking eagle putt on the 14th green on the way to a flawless 64 that lifted him to 13-under-par.
First-round leader Cameron Young was the closest challenger on 11-under, one shot ahead of Viktor Hovland and Rory McIlroy, who carded a rock-solid 68 to stay firmly in contention to win his fifth major title.
Dustin Johnson was a further shot back on nine under with world No 1 and fellow American Scottie Scheffler another stroke behind alongside Tyrrell Hatton.
Woods received a standing ovation from the galleries as he walked up the 18th fairway before he missed a short birdie putt to complete a round of 75 that left him tied for 148th place in the 156-man field.
"It's very emotional for me," Woods said. "I've been coming here since 1995. I think the next one comes around in 2030 and I don't know if I will be physically able to play by then.
"My two-day play is I made my share of mistakes. Struggled again today to get the feel of the greens."
When is it?
The 150th edition of The Open takes place from July 14-17 at the Old Course, St Andrews. So, Thursday to Sunday this week.
What time does it start?
For the opening two rounds, the early starters go out at 6.35am. The final group gets underway at 4.16pm.
What TV channel is it on?
The 150th Open will be shown live on Sky Sports. Alternatively, bookmark this page and follow Telegraph Sport's live coverage of all four days.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who between them have won 21 majors, including four Claret Jugs, will not be adding to their trophy haul after two of golf's most decorated players failed to make the cut on Friday.
Woods, the winner of three Opens including two on the Old Course, failed to make it to the weekend for the first time at St Andrews after a second round 75 left him nine-over and out of sight of the cut set at even par.
It marked the first time in three events since returning from a 2021 car crash that nearly cost the 15-times major winner his right leg that Woods failed to make the cut.
Mickelson, who signed a lucrative deal to join the rebel LIV Golf Series, saw his hopes of reaching the weekend disappear with a disastrous second round back nine scarred by three bogeys and double-bogey that left the six-time major winner on five-over after signing for a 75.
Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka, another PGA Tour member poached by the LIV Series, stumbled to a double-bogey, bogey finish and a 75 to miss out on the weekend by four strokes.
Collin Morikawa saw his Open title defence come to a cruel end when the American birdied the 18th for a second round 73 to miss the cut by a single shot.
What happened last year?
Collin Morikawa held off a late surge from Jordan Spieth to win at Royal St George's, with the imperious American finishing 15-under.
Telegraph Sport's golf correspondent James Corrigan described Morikawa as "unbreakable, unmatchable and unbelievable" after he added the Open Championship to the US PGA title he collected in 2020.
If anyone is any doubt about the class of this Californian then consider that he only turned pro in June 2019 and this was only his eight major - and only Bobby Jones has won two quicker.
What are the latest odds?
Cameron Smith 15/8
Twenty-eight-year-old Australian was tied for third after Thursday's opening 67 and has proved himself an excellent wire-to-wire competitor since tying for second at the Masters in 2020 when he became the first golfer in the tournament's history to score all four rounds in the 60s (67-68-69-69). Two of his five PGA tour titles have come this year: The Sentry Tournament of Champions in January followed by the prestigious Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in March.
Rory McIlroy 9/2
McIlroy shot a six-under 66 in Thursday's first round, illustrating why his length off the tee makes the Old Course a good match, and emphasising his consistency in 2022. The Northern Irishman ranks first for Strokes Gained Tee to Green on the PGA Tour this season, recently won in Canada and has finished in the top eight at all three majors this season. Just one Claret Jug to his name, won at a receptive Hoylake in 2014 where The Open returns next year.
Cameron Young 8/1
The clubhouse leader by two strokes at the end of a marathon first round with his magnificent 64, the 25-year-old New Yorker, in his debut Open, is enjoying a breakthrough season following his tie for third place in his first PGA Championship in May. He is eighth on the PGA Tour in 2022 for driving distance and his power off the tee was integral to Thursday's march to the top of the leaderboard.
Scottie Scheffler 11/1
No surprises to see the World No 1 and Masters champion so prominent after Thursday's four-under 68. Has only made one Open appearance, but that produced a T-8 finish at the quirky Royal St George's last year which bodes well. No significant weaknesses when on song. Scheffler was understandably quiet in the weeks after Augusta but has recorded runner-up finishes at Colonial and the US Open at Brookline.