Louis Oosthuizen acceptable a 36-hole grounds astatine the British Open arsenic Aussies Marc Leishman and Jason Day struggled.
On a time of pleasant summertime upwind that took the fearfulness retired of the links disconnected Sandwich Bay, Oosthuizen broke distant from a three-way necktie with a birdie-birdie-eagle tally from the 12th hole. He shrugged disconnected his archetypal bogey of the week for a 5-under 65 and a two-stroke pb connected Friday.
Former PGA champion Collin Morikawa had a 64 successful the greeting and was 2 shots behind. Another changeable backmost was Jordan Spieth (67), going aft his 4th major.
Lurking was two-time large champion Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 subordinate successful the satellite who changeable 65 and was tied for fourth, 4 strokes down Oosthuizen.
"The crippled is good, but I cognize it's a truly bully leaderboard," Oosthuizen said. "I'll person to play bully play this play if I privation to travel retired first."
Aussie Marc Leishman had a frustrating time erstwhile helium snapped his putter with his bare hands earlier past going connected to marque 3 birdies each portion putting with a wedge.
Leishman looked similar helium was destined to miss the chopped but his circular improved exponentially aft helium was forced to commencement utilizing a wedge to putt for the remainder of his circular and helium ended up 'blading' location his 3 longest birdies of the week.
The Victorian's three-under par 67 was a immense betterment connected his opening circular 75 erstwhile helium was statistically the worst putter successful the field. the poorest putting statistic successful the tract but astatine two-over helium was inactive apt to miss the projected one-over cut.
Leishman finished 2 implicit but chap Aussie Jason Day followed up his opening circular of 75 with a level-par 70, missing the cut.
"I played the archetypal three-over par [in the 2 rounds] and played the ninth three-over par arsenic well," Day said, highlighting the holes that outgo him a spot with the cut, which is estimated to beryllium level par oregon one-over.
"I'm trying to get backmost to No.1. I've been saying that for a portion now, but the enactment I've been putting successful hasn't yielded a batch of results yet. I judge it successful my heart. The past 2 oregon 3 seasons of not playing humbles you a lot. I cognize that my crippled is bully capable to beryllium No.1."
Oosthuizen, looking arsenic calm arsenic the conditions, was astatine 11-under 129, breaking the 36-hole Open grounds archetypal acceptable by Nick Faldo successful 1992 astatine Muirfield and matched by Brandt Snedeker successful 2012 astatine Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
This volition beryllium the 5th clip successful the past 9 rounds astatine a large that Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion astatine St. Andrews, has had astatine slightest a stock of the lead. He was runner-up astatine the past 2 majors, to Phil Mickelson astatine the the PGA Championship successful May and to Jon Rahm the U.S. Open past month.
"I'm not truly going to deliberation astir the 2nd spots," said Oosthuizen, erstwhile asked what he'll bash otherwise this time. "I cognize my crippled is successful a bully place."
He'll besides beryllium alert of the prime of subordinate down him, though.
Morikawa, making rather a debut successful links golf, made 7 birdies successful his archetypal 14 holes arsenic portion of a session successful robust play. He missed a 5-foot par putt connected No. 15 — ending a 27-hole agelong without a bogey — and had a 10-foot birdie putt connected the last spread drawback the lip.
Spieth, 4 shots down Morikawa erstwhile helium teed off, was tied for the pb aft 12 holes and past played the past six holes successful 1 over, a agelong helium described arsenic "frustrating." He had plentifulness of looks astatine birdie, but the putts didn't driblet similar they did connected Thursday.
"I don't know, I deliberation I request to bring much nutrient connected the play people tomorrow," said Spieth, who has already lifted the claret jug earlier astatine Royal Birkdale successful 2017. "I got truly conscionable successful a weird caput space, similar fatigued determination connected similar the 13th greenish arsenic we were waiting and hitting putts."
Then determination was Johnson, a runner-up astatine Royal St. George's successful 2011, who stuck his attack astatine the past to 3 feet for a birdie and a circular of 65, which near him astatine 7 nether with Dylan Frittelli of South Africa (67) and Scottie Scheffler (66).
The upwind is expected to enactment benign implicit the weekend, perchance favoring Johnson if the fairways steadfast up and the shot runs longer and faster.
"I consciousness similar I'm successful a bully presumption heading into the weekend," helium said.
One changeable down an eclectic premix of players astatine 6 nether — including 2 much South Africans successful Justin Harding and Daniel Van Tonder arsenic good arsenic Germany's Marcel Siem, who qualified from a second-tier Challenge Tour lawsuit past week — were Rahm (64) and Brooks Koepka.
Koepka, a four-time large victor and seemingly ever successful contention astatine golf's biggest events, made 4 birdies successful his past 5 holes for a 66, past continued his petty feud with Bryson DeChambeau with possibly the champion changeable of his round.
During a tv interview, Koepka said helium was driving it great, adding: "I emotion my driver" — a wide motion astatine DeChambeau, who complained connected Thursday that his operator "sucks."
DeChambeau doesn't look similar being a origin this play astatine Royal St. George's but he's sticking astir aft shooting a 70, which saw him marque the chopped connected the fig astatine 1 over.
Rory McIlroy volition be, too, needing a birdie connected the last spread for different 70. He was 11 shots down and acceptable to enactment connected 4 majors until 2022.
"That's benignant of been the mode for the past mates months," McIlroy said. "It's felt close, but it conscionable hasn't rather been adjacent enough."
Other large names weren't truthful lucky: No. 7 Patrick Cantlay, No. 9 Patrick Reed and erstwhile Open champions Francesco Molinari and Henrik Stenson were among those headed home.
A motion of the favorable upwind that has confronted the world's champion players this week — determination was hardly a driblet of upwind astatine times connected Friday — is the information the chopped was astatine 1-over 141. The erstwhile lowest chopped astatine Royal St. George's was 143.
For a regular dose of the champion of the breaking quality and exclusive contented from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!