Open leader Cameron Smith expects “brutal” conditions on Saturday but is confident he has the game to deal with them.
Smith carded a flawless 64 for 13-under par midway through 131, beating the previous St Andrews Open record – set by Nick Faldo and Greg Norman in 1990 and by Louis Oosthuizen in 2010 – by a shot.
It gave the Australian a two-stroke lead over Cameron Young, while Rory McIlroy and his Ryder Cup team-mate Viktor Hovland were another down.
“I think if I’m late again it will obviously firm up a bit, more like day one I’d say, so I’d say it’s going to be pretty brutal out there,” said the 28-year-old.
“I think there will be a few more knobby pins and I think being smart out there will definitely be key to staying at the top of the leaderboard.
“I’ve always been a pretty good player in difficult conditions. I think most Aussies are for some reason.
“I think we’re all raised to be smart golfers, sometimes hitting off the pin and that really benefits us I think in big tournaments and when conditions get tough.”
But he will have an in-form McIlroy in the group trying to build pressure.
The Northern Irishman, who followed his first 66 to a 68, will not change his strategy but is confident he can close the three-shot deficit as he seeks to win his first Major since 2014.
“I know I have the game. Thats all I need. I just have to go out and play my game and play golf for the next two days and that’s all I can do,” he said.
“If Cam Smith goes out and shoots two more rounds like he did the first two days, I’m going to have a really hard time winning the tournament.
“So I just have to go out there and do my best and take care of myself and hopefully that’s good enough.”
shot of the day
Norway’s Hovland had a mixed back nine that included two birdies, two bogeys and a par as he finished 16th with 455 yards. After driving into the proper rough, he faced a 139-yard approach but landed it perfectly, making a few leaps forward before rolling into the hole for an eagle two – the first on the 16th in this week – which brought him up to nine under .
round of the day
Another day. Anders Cameron. Same result. Smith shagged his first three holes, picked up three more around the turn and then holed for an eagle on the 14th from 60ft to raise the prospect, the lowest round in big men history, Branden Grace’s 62 at Royal Birkdale in 2017 to achieve. The He had to settle for a 64, a score scored by American Cameron Young to take the lead in the first round. After four straight pars, the homecoming wasn’t a huge disappointment as it gave him a two-shot lead going into the weekend.
Tweet of the day
Statistics of the day
The last two times Rory McIlroy was 10 under or better in two rounds of a major championship he won (US Open 2011 and Open 2014).
The 495-yard, par-4 17th hole was the toughest hole, delivering only six birdies all day with 42 bogeys, eight doubles and a triple bogey, resulting in a 4.35 scoring average.
The 570-yard par-5 fifth: There were four eagles, 74 birdies, just 13 bogeys and nothing worse for a 4.56 scoring average.
Selected start times
10:30 a.m. Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau. 11:15 a.m.: Justin Thomas, Jason Kokrak. 1:45 p.m.: Jordan Spieth, Thriston Lawrence. 2:50 p.m.: Min Woo Lee, Matt Fitzpatrick. 5:00 p.m.: Cameron Young, Cameron Smith
Mostly sunny, increasing cloudiness in the late afternoon. Winds will be up to 10mph, with gusts between 15mph and 20mph in the afternoon.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/golf/cameron-smith-rory-mcilroy-greg-norman-nick-faldo-twitter-b2124582.html The third open house: Cameron Smith braced himself for ‘brutal’ conditions at St Andrews