Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson shared a piece of unwanted history at The Open Championship on Friday.

The key to the success of two of golf's greatest stars has been their longevity, with Woods winning 15 major titles and Mickelson five during their distinguished careers.

But, there have of course been the inevitable disappointments and this weekend at Royal Portrush has been one such occasion as Woods and Mickelson failed to make the cut.

That in itself is not particularly remarkable, even the greatest have their share of underwhelming major tournaments.

What is astounding is that it marks the first time Woods and Mickelson have missed the cut at the same major tournament, and just the fourth time the pair have done so on the PGA Tour.

They last both missed the cut at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Woods shot a one-under-par 70 on Friday, but it was nowhere near enough to negate the damage from an opening-round 78.

Mickelson, meanwhile, shot a pair of 74s and will not be sticking around for Saturday and Sunday.

Shane Lowry bogeyed the 18th as he settled for a share of The Open Championship lead at Royal Portrush.

The Irishman, who is seeking a first major title, looked set to displace J.B. Holmes at the summit as he stood over a birdie putt at the last with a one-stroke lead.

However, he three-putted from there to drop a shot and slip to eight under par, alongside Holmes.

Dylan Frittelli - the last man to qualify for the event - looked on course to at least match that score, but toiled to a double-bogey six at 17.

Lowry birdied four of the first five holes, making the most of favourable weather early in his round, and had held firm amid worsening conditions until the final green.

Holmes had earlier carded a 68 to back-up his 66 from Thursday, with Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood one shot further back.

Joining that English duo in the chasing pack was compatriot Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion signing for a 67 at a tournament where he shared second place last year.

The seemingly ever-present threat of Brooks Koepka at majors looms large heading into the weekend, the form man on five under.

But some lesser lights edged ahead of the world number one at the midway point, with Cameron Smith and Justin Harding, who shot a 65, firmly in the mix.

It was a day that signalled the end of the road for Tiger Woods, though, the Masters champion's one-under-par 70 not enough to mitigate his woeful opening-round 78.

Home hope Rory McIlroy seemed destined to suffer the same fate despite impressively clawing back four shots over his first 11 holes to get to four over.

Reigning champion Francesco Molinari was able to kick-start a revival, though, getting back to the projected cut mark of one over at the turn.

Lee Westwood is enjoying having his girlfriend on caddie duties after boosting his Open Championship title chances on Friday. 

The Englishman has never won a major but his second-round 67 put him firmly in the hunt for the Claret Jug on seven under, with J.B. Holmes the only man in the clubhouse on a lower score.

Westwood has had partner Helen Storey on the bag at Royal Portrush and, despite her lack of golf knowledge, she has been a great help to him.

"Obviously I get on well with Helen," he said. "She doesn't know too much about golf but she knows a lot about the way my mind works.

"She keeps me in a good frame of mind and focusing on the right things at the right time. There's more to the caddying than carrying and getting the wind direction.

"I enjoy doing it all myself. Get the yardage, pull the club, it's all my responsibility, and I'm 100 per cent clear in my mind what I'm doing."

And he revealed some of the perks his other half is enjoying caddying at a headline event.

"She's delighted because they've got their own rakers. She doesn't have to rake the bunkers," he said. 

Asked if his opening two rounds had changed his perception of what was possible over the weekend, the 46-year-old was keen to play it cool.

"I haven't got any expectations. I'm just swinging quite well at the moment," he said.

"I've had a couple of weeks of links golf where I played well and made the most of how I played, and this week it's happening.

"It's nice to do it at the Open Championship, it's a big tournament and prestigious tournament and on a great golf course. It's just happened at the right time."

Tiger Woods still loves "the stress" of playing major golf but expressed frustration at not being able to compete at the top of the leaderboards after his Masters triumph.

The American great started The Open Championship with a seven-over-par 78 on Thursday and could only go one under on a favourable day of scoring at Royal Portrush in round two.

With the projected cutline hovering around one over, Woods will not be around for the weekend in Northern Ireland.

Since his dramatic Masters win in April, Woods will have missed the cut in two majors and tied 21st at the U.S. Open – a return that does not sit well with the 15-time major winner. 

"It's more frustrating than anything else because this is a major championship and I love playing in these events," said Woods, who has missed multiple cuts at majors in the same season for just the second time in his career. 

"I love the atmosphere. I love just the stress of playing in a major and unfortunately, I've only had a chance to win one of them and was able to do it. 

"But the other three I didn't do very well."

Woods is now planning on taking some time off ahead of the FedExCup Playoffs on the PGA Tour, which begin in August.

"I'm going to take a couple of weeks off and get ready for the playoffs. We've got the playoffs coming up and anything can happen," he added.

"Last year I almost stole the whole FedEx Cup at the very end. If it wasn't for Rosie's [Justin Rose] little break there at the bunker, it could have been interesting.

"So get ready for those events and after that have a break."

Jordan Spieth says the conditions he played in growing up are why he enjoys playing links golf so much as he left himself well in contention after his second round at the Open Championship.

The 2017 champion went around Royal Portrush in 67 on Friday and is five under for the tournament, which was four back of the leading score.

Spieth also tied fourth in 2015 and was co-leading heading into the final round at Carnoustie a year ago before falling away and finishing in a tie for ninth. 

"It's pretty much the style of golf," Spieth replied when asked about his performances in The Open. 

"I always get pumped up for major championships, clearly I try to peak for majors and then this style of golf I've always found to fit my game pretty well.

"I just grew up in the wind, having to play a lot of different shots and using imagination around the greens on the course I grew up at. 

"So, it's different but it feeds well into this style of golf and then we don't see it very often. I wish we were able to see it more. I love links golf."

Spieth's American compatriot Brooks Koepka – who has gone 2-1-2 in the majors in 2019 – also made it back to the clubhouse at five under.

The four-time major winner feels he would be higher on the leaderboard had he been hotter with the putter over the opening two days.

"I didn't make a putt all week. I just need to figure that out. If I can make some putts I could very easily be 10 under and really maybe more," he said.

"I haven't made anything. On the front nine I didn't hit it as good as I'd like. I didn't pitch it as good. It's tough to really score if you're going to do that.

"It's frustrating. You've just got to stay patient and just wait your turn, just like I did on 12 and 13 [where he made back-to-back birdies]. I haven't really hit anything too close yet, either.

"I feel like some of my good shots have just been a little too far away from the hole. So, if I can just clean it up just the slightest little bit I could be off and running."

Open Championship contender J.B. Holmes feared his career was practically over just four weeks ago following an abysmal slump in form.

The American carded rounds of 66 and 68 to head into this weekend among the leading pack at Royal Portrush on eight under par.

His exploits in Northern Ireland stand in stark contrast to his recent outings on the PGA Tour, where missed cuts have been the norm.

Asked if he had ever endured a similar loss of form before, the 37-year-old replied: "Never. That was the first one. The first one of that extent.

"Obviously I've had slumps before, but four weeks ago I thought my career was over. Or felt like it."

Holmes believes his return to the top of his game owes much to the Dunluce Links course, which he has tamed better than most over the first two days.

"It's set up great for me," he said. "I felt good about it kind of all week. I've been hitting it really good.

"I feel like me and my caddie have a good plan on it and we've felt comfortable and we've executed the shots."

Shane Lowry made a flying to start to round two of The Open Championship as Lee Westwood surged into contention and J.B. Holmes reached the clubhouse at eight under par.

Overnight leader Holmes backed up his opening 66 with a three-under 68 at Royal Portrush.

Irishman Lowry was at the same score having birdied four of his first five holes in an electric opening to his round on Friday.

Westwood matched the seven under through two rounds posted by Tommy Fleetwood as the early starters capitalised on favourable scoring conditions.

Justin Rose was at six under and had one hole remaining, with Cameron Smith and Justin Harding back home at the same score.

Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth were three shots off the lead having completed their rounds. Tony Finau was also five under with a hole to play.

Tommy Fleetwood plans to draw on his Ryder Cup experience as he bids to claim a maiden major at The Open this weekend.

Fleetwood was one of the heroes of Team Europe's resounding victory at Le Golf National last year, forming a memorable partnership with 2018 Open winner Francesco Molinari.

While the Italian looks set to relinquish his grasp on the Claret Jug, the other half of the 'Moliwood' duo is in contention at Royal Portrush following rounds of 68 and 67.

And Fleetwood feels his coolness amid the madness of a Ryder Cup and ability to use the crowd's support to his advantage could play a role in Northern Ireland.

"The Ryder Cup, nothing gets more nerve-wracking than that, kind of except when you're coming down the stretch trying to win a major," he said after setting the clubhouse lead at seven under on Friday.

"The support is just great and it's a bonus, really. I think for me personally I always feel like I do a very good job of staying within myself and playing my game and doing my thing and having a good focus.

"But the support that we get, especially if we play home events, I've always said I consider myself lucky that wherever I go I get good support.

"But especially when you play an Open or home event. If it's not quite going your way, they can pick you up.

"And if it is going your way, they can fly with you and you can right it. It's great for us. The number of British players that are here all say the same: Playing in front of your home crowd is the best."

A key difference between Fleetwood and Molinari is the fact the latter can claim to be a major winner and that is one area where the Englishman is desperate to emulate his close friend.

"He's done great. He's obviously built a lot of confidence over the years, and he's made himself into a prolific winner and major winner at that," said Fleetwood.

"I love the way he goes about things. He's built a great team around him. There's a lot of similarities between us except, you know, a couple more wins and a major in there. So I've got a bit of work to do."

Tommy Fleetwood was trendy on the course and trending off it at Royal Portrush, as his funky choice of attire caused a stir on social media on Friday.

The Englishman carded a second-round 67 at the Open Championship and is well in contention to challenge for the Claret Jug over the weekend.

However, Fleetwood's vibrant black-and-white shirt was dividing opinion on social media, with some loving his jazzy polo and others, well, not quite so sure.

The man himself defended the shirt, the same style having also been worn by Tony Finau on the Dunluce Links on Thursday, when addressing the media after his second round.

"If you see me out in Portrush in it then maybe [it's reflective of my personal style]," he said.

"I personally like it. I've had more comments than I thought, so maybe I do have a bit too much of a colourful style because I just thought it was normal."

You just keep on being you, Tommy.

Tommy Fleetwood posted the clubhouse target in round two of the Open Championship, as Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith and Jordan Spieth also applied the pressure to overnight leader J.B. Holmes.

Englishman Fleetwood, donning a snazzy black and white patterned polo, signed for a fine 67 at Royal Portrush, where lower winds and clear skies were making for favourable morning scoring, and he was leader in the clubhouse at seven under.

Holmes, the overnight leader, was two shots clear of that score with five to play having made back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13. The American played the opening three holes at three under before dropping a shot at the ninth.

Australian Cameron Smith was enjoying a stellar round. Six birdies on his card meant he was six under with three holes remaining.

Four-time major winner Koepka made it back to the clubhouse at five under, the same score Spieth was on with two holes still to play.

Further down the leaderboard, Tiger Woods' chances of reaching the weekend were looking increasingly bleak. The Masters champion was two under for the round through 10, but still five over for the tournament.

Jordan Spieth hit a hot streak on the front nine to move to within one shot of the Open Championship lead.

The 2017 Champion Golfer of the Year, who signed for a modest 70 in Thursday's opening round, found his best form early on Friday to go six under for the tournament.

An eagle three at the seventh courtesy of a mammoth putt from off the green was the highlight of the American's scorecard as he played the first eight holes in 27.

Compatriot J.B. Holmes was the man to catch at the summit on seven under, with Englishman Tyrell Hatton at five under and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka headlining a huge chasing pack on three under.

Erik van Rooyen was another man to take advantage of the favourable conditions, climbing into contention on four under for the tournament alongside Tommy Fleetwood.

Tyrell Hatton made back-to-back birdies at Royal Portrush to join J.B. Holmes at the top of the Open Championship leaderboard.

After a run of four pars to start his second round, Hatton picked up shots at the fifth and sixth to improve to five under for the tournament.

That saw him move into a tie with overnight leader Holmes, who began his round with a par having dropped a shot at the first on Thursday before recovering to fire 66.

Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka was one shot behind his American compatriot after a birdie at the second but he bogeyed the fourth and moved back to three under for the tournament, two strokes adrift of Holmes and Hatton.

Ryan Fox was unaware he was on the way to making history during his round as he produced the lowest back-nine score recorded at an Open on Thursday.

The New Zealander made an inauspicious start at Royal Portrush and was three over par through the front nine.

But Fox had a much happier time of it on the way home as he made six birdies and three pars, with his back-nine total of 29 setting a new benchmark in the famous tournament.

"It's pretty good considering how I started," said Fox, who is among 13 players two back of leader J. B. Holmes on three under. "I didn't know it at the time but it's nice to know it was a record.

"Sometimes you need something to click. I was getting frustrated over the first nine holes but then I changed my mindset and saw a few starting to go in."

Fox had been struggling for form heading into the final major of the year but was delighted to piece together a round that left him looking up the leaderboard to find his name.

"I'm just trying to get out of my own way at the moment – I've been a little bit down on myself, frustrated and thinking about the technical stuff too much," he added. 

"I've been trying to just enjoy myself and that finally worked. It's really hard to do – I've missed seven cuts in a row and been trying to do that for seven weeks.

"To figure it out in a major is certainly nice – there's a long way to go but it's the first round in a while where I had some fun and some control over the golf ball."

Jon Rahm is also well poised after matching Fox's round as he eyes a first major title.

The Spaniard, who finished an otherwise promising day with a bogey at the last, said: "I feel like I played two rounds out there today. Still a great score, my best score in an Open Championship.

"Obviously a really good first 12 holes. The only mistake was 11, it was still a decent shot, it wasn't that bad. It just got tough at the end, honestly.

"I feel really good off the tee. I think some of the shots coming in, there was just a little bit of commitment issue, maybe just lack of commitment on some of the shots.

"But besides that, the day has been pretty good. Good round. And feeling good. I mean it's a good start. You can't win the tournament today but you can lose it and I'm in good position for tomorrow."

It was an eventful start to proceedings at the 148th Open Championship, with some of the biggest names in the sport enduring a day of toil.

Royal Portrush was a hot ticket as the world's best golfers began their quest for the coveted Claret Jug.

There was sunshine, rain, wind and all sorts of drama out on the course.

As ever, Omnisport's reporters had their eyes peeled for some of things you may have missed, collecting the highlights into this bite-sized diary.

THINGS QUICKLY GO AWRY FOR RORY

It was quite an experience standing on the first hole when Rory McIlroy's name was announced to an expectant crowd, with the fans giving a typically deafening roar.

Sadly for McIlroy, who shot 61 at Portrush in 2005, things quickly went wrong. His opening tee shot veered out of bounds and smashed a fan's phone in the process.

A quadruple-bogey eight followed and it was a subdued crowd who witnessed their homegrown star trundle to the second tee, with the applause turning to little more than a polite smattering.

 

WONDER IF HE FOUND HIMSELF IN THE WOOF?

Plenty of players are jostling for the lead at The Open, but one good boy perhaps should have been kept more tightly on his...

A happy dog found his way on to a tee box and managed to escape the attentions of fans and officials trying to usher him back under the spectator ropes.

ARE YOU TAKING THE MIC? - DUVAL NOT IMPRESSED

Poor David Duval endured quite the day, kicking it off with back-to-back birdies before a quadruple bogey on the fifth and an eye-watering 14 on the seventh.

He played two provisional shots off the tee and then ended up continuing with the wrong ball, incurring a hefty penalty.

To his credit, the 2001 champion turned up for his mixed zone duties after his round of 91, but he was not keen to speak into the podium microphone.

First, he side-stepped the device altogether, but when it was thrust towards his face, the American swatted it away again.

Ryan Fox was unaware he was on the way to making history during his round as he produced the lowest back-nine score recorded at an Open on Thursday.

The New Zealander made an inauspicious start at Royal Portrush and was three over par through the front nine.

But Fox had a much happier time of it on the way home as he made six birdies and three pars, with his back-nine total of 29 setting a new benchmark in the famous tournament.

"It's pretty good considering how I started," said Fox, who is among 13 players two back of leader J. B. Holmes on three under. "I didn't know it at the time but it's nice to know it was a record.

"Sometimes you need something to click. I was getting frustrated over the first nine holes but then I changed my mindset and saw a few starting to go in."

Fox had been struggling for form heading into the final major of the year but was delighted to piece together a round that left him looking up the leaderboard to find his name.

"I'm just trying to get out of my own way at the moment – I've been a little bit down on myself, frustrated and thinking about the technical stuff too much," he added. 

"I've been trying to just enjoy myself and that finally worked. It's really hard to do – I've missed seven cuts in a row and been trying to do that for seven weeks.

"To figure it out in a major is certainly nice – there's a long way to go but it's the first round in a while where I had some fun and some control over the golf ball."

Jon Rahm is also well poised after matching Fox's round as he eyes a first major title.

The Spaniard, who finished an otherwise promising day with a bogey at the last, said: "I feel like I played two rounds out there today. Still a great score, my best score in an Open Championship.

"Obviously a really good first 12 holes. The only mistake was 11, it was still a decent shot, it wasn't that bad. It just got tough at the end, honestly.

"I feel really good off the tee. I think some of the shots coming in, there was just a little bit of commitment issue, maybe just lack of commitment on some of the shots.

"But besides that, the day has been pretty good. Good round. And feeling good. I mean it's a good start. You can't win the tournament today but you can lose it and I'm in good position for tomorrow."

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