The Open 2018: Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy in contention

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The 147th Open Championship
Venue: Carnoustie, Scotland Dates: 19-22 July
Coverage: Live across BBC Radio, highlights on BBC TV and online, live text commentary and clips on the BBC Sport website.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood is a shot off the clubhouse lead at The Open Championship as Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy also surged into contention on a rainy second day at Carnoustie.

Fleetwood, 27, carded a six-under-par 65 to stand a shot behind Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner on five under.

McIlroy, bidding for his first major since 2014, is a shot back on four under after a second successive 69.

Johnson, the 2015 champion, shot 67 and round one leader Kisner managed a 70.

Kisner had moved clear at eight under par with five birdies but double-bogeyed the 18th after putting his second shot into the Barry Burn.

Johnson, 42, recovered from an opening bogey with five birdies and no more dropped shots.

Fourteen-time major winner Tiger Woods missed a short birdie putt on the 18th and remains level par for the tournament after a second successive 71, the 42-year-old American comfortably making the cut on his first Open appearance since 2015.

Conditions improved for the later starters on the links on the east coast of Scotland, after grey skies and persistent rain hampered those teeing off in the morning.

It was a stark contrast to the dry and sunny conditions on Thursday, making Fleetwood’s round look even more impressive.

Dustin Johnson, another early starter, will be the first world number one since England’s Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the Open.

The American followed his opening round of 76 with a one-over 72 to finish six over, while Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, the 2016 champion, is also in danger of missing the weekend after a four-over 75 left him three over.

Fleetwood recovers after ‘hitting it rubbish’

Fleetwood is aiming for his first major title after coming close at the US Open last month, where he fell a shot short of champion Brooks Koepka despite a scintillating final-round 63 – the joint-lowest score in the tournament’s history.

The world number 10 put himself into contention at the halfway stage with a superb round which did not feature a single bogey.

After carding a one-over 72 on Thursday, he wiped that out with a birdie on the fourth and moved under par for the tournament with another on the fifth.

He closed the front nine with another birdie and added three more on the back half, including one on the 18th.

Fleetwood holds the course record at Carnoustie after shooting a 63 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October.

“It was a struggle on Thursday,” he said. “I didn’t really hit it, I hit rubbish most of yesterday.

“We put in a good hour’s work last night and we played better. It was a really good round of golf.

“I came off the range feeling better and clearer and I thought if I could get it under par for the tournament that would be a great day.”

McIlroy happy after ‘very different’ game plan

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McIlroy, 29, is a four-time major winner but has not lifted one of the sport’s biggest prizes since the PGA Championships in 2014.

After an opening 69, the world number eight matched that round with four birdies on his card along with dropped shots on the 12th and 15th holes.

“I would have taken a second round of two under before going out today,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.

“The conditions are not too bad, but are bad enough to make you think I had to adopt a very different game plan.

“When these modern drivers get wet there is not too much spin on the ball, so I didn’t hit driver very much and I had to play the course the way it is supposed to be played.”

Analysis

Ken Brown, BBC commentator and former European Tour player

It’s amazing how the conditions have changed since yesterday. The rain has really softened the course up. The fairways are still a little fiery but they aren’t too bad and it has given the players a chance to get at the flags. Despite the rain, it’s been conducive to scoring.

Rory McIlroy has certainly taken advantage. He hasn’t been as aggressive as he was yesterday and has been a little bit more defensive for two reasons. Firstly, the ball wasn’t going to go as far and secondly, the rough is a bit more penal if you end up in it because it is a bit wet and soggy. Very sensible golf.

Most impressive of all has been Tommy Fleetwood. He has played one of those rounds, he has been in complete control, his iron shots were glorious, he took every opportunity that came his way and he holed out nicely.

With conditions already looking brighter we could see one or two more scores to rival his superb 65.

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