Smith eagle-eyed past Young to lead by two shots at The Open Championship

A vintage putting demonstration from Cameron Smith saw the Aussies go around the Old Course and jump over it. first day leader Cameron Young, opening a two-stroke lead under 13.

Starting the day in third place, Smith’s eight under-64s matched Thursday’s best of the week by Young, who failed to replicate the relentless pace he set the day before. After a flawless first round, the American suffered the first two scarecrows of the Major, finishing the match with a three under 69 score.

Smith ran out of blocks with three consecutive birdies and later added three more, but a better pick followed in 14th with a breathtaking eagle strike. His perfectly measured, sinuous effort drew roars from watching fans, but the 25-year-old was the epitome of cool, with a wry smile on his caddy, the culmination of his celebration.

After he confessed that he “felt like a kid again” during the course earlier in the week, the reaction was characterized by a change in mindset.

“On training days, it’s easy to laugh and stuff like that,” Smith told reporters.

“But there, the last couple of days have been so hard that it almost got me back to thinking about the right shot and that I really need to be accurate with targets and forms.”

Smith with his caddy on the second tee.

However, the five-time PGA Tour winner was quick to highlight the importance of shutting down after the rounds. After watching a few episodes of Peaky Blinders after his first round, the Aussie plans to watch a few more hit BBC TV series before the weekend.

“I always did a good job when I finished golf or went on with my life,” Smith said.

“I told myself it’s like work, don’t take it home with you. I think it’s really important, especially in big tournaments like this.”

Young heads chase the pack

Even though his early lead had dwindled, Young was in high spirits, pleased with his performance aside from “a couple of bad shots” and some misplaced shots.

“It seemed that I was still in control of what was happening, I just had not had time to come together,” he said.

“Better to be second than tenth. You still have to play good golf on the weekend.”

Young crashes out on the seventeenth hole.

Rory McIlroy moved up from sixth to third despite missing two hits in his first round, hitting 68 cards, leaving himself three hits from Smith at the top.

A pair of unfortunate troubles in 8th and 15th have slowed the Northern Irishman’s pursuit as he aims for his second Open Championship triumph since beating Royal Liverpool in 2014.

A final birdie in 18th saw Norway’s Viktor Hovland join McIlroy at the age of 10. The 24-year-old rallied from two birds in three holes with a superb eagle run to ensure a strong finish.

Dustin Johnson held on to within four strokes of the lead with another impressive spectacle as the American rebounded from the opening bogey to score 67, while the world No. 1 scored 67. 1 Scotty Sheffler repeated his first round 68 to end the day with a shot behind his compatriot.

English trio is impressive

Joining Scheffler in the top five is England’s Tyrrell Hatton, who recovered from a series of missed birdie shots and hit four of five holes from the 6th hole onwards.

Notorious for slipping on the fairway from time to time, the 30-year-old was particularly annoyed by the missed opportunity on the opening hole, but believes the disappointment isn’t too bad if channeled properly.

“If I get too annoyed, get in the way, that’s a problem,” Hutton told reporters. “But if I hit badly and miss it, then it will not harm me.

“It would be worse for me if I tried to act like everything is fine because it’s just not my character… obviously not liking it, which is fine, but that’s just me, I’m not trying to offend anyone.”

Hatton (right) shaking hands with Scheffler after the round.

It was also a good day for two more Englishmen who, despite both being from Sheffield, arrived in St. Louis under completely opposite circumstances. Andrews, like newly crowned US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and amateur Barclay Brown, are on the same level with six fewer.

After a slow start at 72, Fitzpatrick burst into action on Friday, hitting seven birdies and moving up within seven strokes of the lead pace. Brown’s 70th seed was two strokes more than his opening day, but the 21-year-old continues to impress as the major’s top amateur.

Clipped list of “Tearful Forest” titles

With a 156-man field reduced to the top 70 and a tie before the weekend, one victim stood out from all the others: Tiger Woods and the emotional—potentially last—St. Louis. Andrews welcome.

The three-time Open champion was moved to tears as he waved to the thousands of fans who stood up to cheer him on the 18th fairway. Though hopes of a fabulous run have long been dashed due to his 9+ score, the 46-year-old… still struggling with the aftermath of last year’s car crash – has already fulfilled its mission, again playing at the “home of golf”.

Returning to his favorite course was Wood’s main focus during the grueling recovery process he endured after a car accident in February 2021 that left him with serious leg injuries.

Are you waving goodbye?  Crying Tiger Woods performed by St.  Andrews crowd after a difficult Open

And since the Open won’t potentially return to the “home of golf” until 2030, Woods admitted that he may have played his round at the venue.

“I’m not leaving the game, but I don’t know if I can physically play here again when everything comes back,” Woods said.

2013 champion Phil Mickelson also missed the cut, dropping to five overs after he tied cards on Thursday, as did four-time major tournament winner Brooks Koepka.