Brian Harman hunting major breakthrough after surging clear / Scores

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Harman holds a five-shot lead over local favourite Tommy Fleetwood at the halfway stage at Royal Liverpool.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

American Brian Harman carved out a commanding five-shot lead over home favourite Tommy Fleetwood at the halfway stage of the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Harman carded four birdies in a row on the front nine and holed from 15 feet for an eagle on the 18th to complete a flawless second round of 65 and post a 10-under-par halfway total of 132.

That matched those recorded at Hoylake by Rory McIlroy in 2014 and Tiger Woods in 2006, although both men were 12 under on their way to lifting the Claret Jug as the course was a par-72 at the time.

It also made Harman the first player to lead the Open by five shots after 36 holes since Louis Oosthuizen in 2010, the South African going on to win by seven at St Andrews.

Fleetwood, who must have been taken aback to start his second round so far behind after sharing the overnight lead, closed to within four when he birdied the 14th and 15th, but dropped a shot on the next and eventually signed for a hard-fought 71.

That at least got the 32-year-old from Southport into the final group with Harman for Saturday’s third round, with Austria’s Sepp Straka a shot behind Fleetwood following a brilliant 67 which included six birdies and a bogey in his last seven holes.

Nine years after lifting the Claret Jug at Hoylake, McIlroy heads into the weekend nine behind Harman after a closing birdie saw him add a second round of 70 to his opening 71.

Brian Harman
Brian Harman tees off the 2nd during day two of The Open at Royal Liverpool (David Davies/PA)

Speaking after his stunning 65, Harman happily explained the story behind his unusual reaction to his Masters missed cut, laughing off a query about whether the local livestock would be safe this weekend.

“Sheep don’t taste as good as the turkeys do I would imagine,” Harman said.

“I’ve been a hunter my entire life. I enjoy the strategy of it. Yeah, we eat a lot of wild meat at my house, so I enjoy butchering, and I do a lot of hunting.”

Harman, who is bidding to become just the third left-hander to win the Open after Bob Charles (1963) and Phil Mickelson (2013), admitted he owed his position to a “hot putter” and would need to work hard on not getting ahead of himself this weekend.

“I’m just not trying to get too caught up in it. It’s just golf. I think when I held the 54-hole lead at the US Open (in 2017) I just probably thought about it too much.

“It’s hard for me. I’ve always struggled with trying to predict the future and trying to forecast what’s going to happen. I’ve just tried to get really comfortable just not knowing.

Brian Harman
Brian Harman chips out of a bunker on the 17th during day two of The Open at Royal Liverpool (David Davies/PA)

Harman made his Open debut at Hoylake in 2014 and finished 26th, but missed the cut on his next four appearances before finishing 19th in 2021 and sixth last year.

“I came over early for the Scottish Open last year and I think I beat two people; played horrible,” he said. “Then played bad the first day at St Andrews and was like, ‘Golly, I love coming over here but I’m getting my teeth kicked in’.

“I had a really nice back nine in the second round, made the cut by a couple and then played really well on the weekend.

“I’d say it was nice to finally turn the corner last year. This is my eighth Open Championship and before last year I’d never really even been anywhere close to in contention or even doing halfway decent.”

Tommy Fleetwood
England’s Tommy Fleetwood tees off the 15th during day two of The Open at Royal Liverpool (David Davies/PA)

On a day which saw play momentarily disrupted by a Just Stop Oil protest on the 17th green, Fleetwood thanked the vociferous crowds for their support, adding: “From the get-go they were amazing, loud and right behind me.

“It’s an amazing feeling playing in front of them. There’s another two days to go and hopefully I can stick in there right until the end.

“If you had asked me before the start if I wanted to be in the final group on Saturday I’d have taken it, no matter how far I’m behind.

The halfway cut fell at three over par and world number one Scottie Scheffler made it with nothing to spare thanks to a fortunate bounce from the edge of a greenside bunker on the 18th setting up a tap-in birdie.

Defending champion Cameron Smith also needed to birdie the last to survive, but went one better with a spectacular approach from 232 yards which finished 16 inches from the hole for an eagle.

Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson were among the big names to make an early exit.

Pos.PlayerTo ParR1R2Total
1Brian Harman-106765132
2Tommy Fleetwood-56671137
3Sepp Straka-47167138
T4Min Woo Lee-37168139
T4Shubhankar Sharma-36871139
T4Jason Day-37267139
T7Adrian Otaegui-26773140
T7Emiliano Grillo-26674140
T7Jordan Spieth-26971140
T7Cameron Young-27268140
T11Matthew Southgate-17170141
T11Thriston Lawrence-17170141
T11Rory McIlroy-17170141
T11Max Homa-16873141
T11Guido Migliozzi-16972141
T11Michael Stewart-16873141
T11Matthew Jordan-16972141
T11Stewart Cink-16873141
T11Henrik Stenson-17368141
T11Wyndham Clark-16873141
T11Nicolai Hojgaard-17170141
T11Antoine Rozner-16774141
T11Richard Bland-17071141
T11Laurie Canter-17170141
T25Alexander BjörkPar6973142
T25Tom KimPar7468142
T25Viktor HovlandPar7072142
T25Hideki MatsuyamaPar7072142
T25Marcel SiemPar7171142
T30Alex Noren+16875143
T30Abraham Ancer+17271143
T30Thomas Detry+17469143
T30Oliver Wilson+16974143
T30Byeong Hun An+17370143
T30Adrian Meronk+17271143
T30Thomas Pieters+17073143
T30Joost Luiten+17172143
T30Jordan Smith+17172143
T39Alex Fitzpatrick+27470144
T39Zack Fischer+27173144
T39Brendon Todd+27470144
T39Romain Langasque+27074144
T39Gary Woodland+27371144
T39Christiaan Bezuidenhout+27371144
T39Corey Conners+27371144
T39Zach Johnson+27569144
T39Sungjae Im+27074144
T39Jon Rahm+27470144
T39Tyrrell Hatton+27173144
T39Brandon Robinson Thompson+27173144
T39Hurly Long+27272144
T39Rikuya Hoshino+27569144
T39Patrick Reed+27074144
T39Louis Oosthuizen+27470144
T39J.T. Poston+27173144
T39Kurt Kitayama+27272144
T39Matt Fitzpatrick+27272144
T39Cameron Smith+27272144
T39Xander Schauffele+27074144
T39Bryson DeChambeau+27470144
T39Sami Valimaki+27668144
T62Danny Willett+37372145
T62David Lingmerth+37075145
T62Richie Ramsay+37372145
T62Ryan Fox+37867145
T62Victor Perez+37471145
T62Christo Lamprecht(a)+36679145
T62Andrew Putnam+37372145
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T62Padraig Harrington+37471145
T62Patrick Cantlay+37075145
T62Brooks Koepka+37075145
T62Scottie Scheffler+37075145
T62Adam Scott+37273145
T62Rickie Fowler+37273145
T62Robert MacIntyre+37471145
CUTKyung Nam Kang+47868146
CUTTaylor Moore+47670146
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CUTKeegan Bradley+47076146
CUTCollin Morikawa+47373146
CUTPablo Larrazabal+47274146
CUTSeamus Power+47175146
CUTKazuki Yasumori+47373146
CUTTom Hoge+57275147
CUTSahith Theegala+57968147
CUTJoaquin Niemann+57869147
CUTLucas Herbert+57176147
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CUTHarris English+57572147
CUTYannik Paul+57770147
CUTKazuki Higa+67375148
CUTMichael Kim+67573148
CUTBilly Horschel+67375148
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CUTTony Finau+67375148
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CUTNick Taylor+67375148
CUTKalle Samooja+67276148
CUTTrey Mullinax+67573148
CUTSam Burns+67375148
CUTChris Kirk+67870148
CUTK.H. Lee+67573148
CUTDavis Riley+67870148
CUTBio Kim+67474148
CUTRasmus Hojgaard+77871149
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CUTOckie Strydom+77277149
CUTEwen Ferguson+77475149
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CUTCharl Schwartzel+77772149
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CUTSi Woo Kim+76980149
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CUTTravis Smyth+87872150
CUTSeungsu Han+87674150
CUTMarco Penge+87476150
CUTDarren Clarke+87377150
CUTThorbjørn Olesen+87377150
CUTDaniel Hillier+97873151
CUTPhil Mickelson+97774151
CUTHaydn Barron+97477151
CUTTiger Christensen(a)+97774151
CUTCallum Shinkwin+107874152
CUTDavid Micheluzzi+107775152
CUTBranden Grace+107379152
CUTAlex Maguire(a)+107280152
CUTErnie Els+107577152
CUTTaiga Semikawa+107775152
CUTJustin Thomas+118271153
CUTMarc Warren+117974153
CUTConnor McKinney+117677153
CUTTakumi Kanaya+117380153
CUTLee Hodges+117677153
CUTDenny McCarthy+127678154
CUTJohn Daly+127777154
CUTAdam Schenk+127975154
CUTAlejandro Cañizares+127579154
CUTGraeme Robertson+127579154
CUTOliver Farr+127480154
CUTDustin Johnson+137481155
CUTMartin Rohwer+137382155
CUTKensei Hirata+147581156
CUTKyle Barker+147680156
CUTHarrison Crowe(a)+147680156
CUTJorge Campillo+148274156
CUTHiroshi Iwata+147779156
CUTGunner Wiebe+167979158
CUTTaichi Kho+188377160
CUTAdri Arnaus+218281163
CUTJazz Janewattananond+228183164
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The Open Championship 2023

Date: July 20th - 23rd 2023

Location: Royal Liverpool GC, Hoylake, England

Purse: $16,500,000

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