American Brian Harman stormed to the top of the leader board at the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, shooting a superb second round 65 to leave him on 10 under par.
The 36-year-old carded four birdies in a row between holes two and five to race into an early lead.
He consolidated his advantage with 12 consecutive pars, before wowing the 18th grandstand with a fine eagle on the par five.
His bogey-free round is the best of the week at Hoylake, leaving him in strong contention for his first major championship.
Harman has a taken a total of 132 shots across his opening two rounds, mirroring the halfway score of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in the previous two Opens at Hoylake in 2006 and 2014. Both went on to lift the Claret Jug.
Overnight co-leader and home favourite Tommy Fleetwood could not continue his momentum despite a raucous backing from the stands.
Fleetwood rallied on the back nine reaching six under par after 15 at time of publishing, clear in second place.
With inclement weather expected across the weekend, Fleetwood will have to draw on his knowledge of North West links golf if he wishes to contend.
— MerseySportLive (@merseysportlive) July 21, 2023
The other two players to share the overnight lead fared poorly.
Emiliano Grillo’s 74 included a double-bogey six on the second hole.
South African amateur Christo Lamprecht imploded, shooting a second round 79 and learning a harsh lesson about the vagaries of major tournament golf.
Hoylake member Matthew Jordan kept himself in the top 20 with a creditable 72.
The field found low scoring tricky as the day wore on, so the 27-year-old Hoylake resident will be pleased with his overall position in what is only his second major.
Pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlroy joined Jordan on one-under par.
He finished with a birdie on the last, but will rue a bogey six on the par five 15th hole.
With the cut landing at three-over par, several big names will not be joining in the weekend’s action.
Multiple major winners Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas had a week to forget, both finishing towards the bottom of the leaderboard.
Britain’s Justin Rose finished on six-over par, missing the cut for the first time since 2017.
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