Adam Scott’s British Open prospects have taken a hit during a blustery second round at Royal Liverpool.
The Australian world No.1 started on Friday two shots adrift of Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, who opened with a six-under-par 66 on Thursday.
But Scott steadily dropped back through the field as many of the morning starters on day two struggled with increasingly tricky conditions.
Late in his second round, Scott had dropped three shots to be five behind McIlroy, who was due to resume his campaign in the afternoon.
Scott started his second round solidly enough with a par on the first hole, however his broomstick putter then went cold.
He missed two short putts to make back-to-back bogeys on the second and third holes.
Scott steadied to pick up a birdie on the par-5 fifth and claw back to within three shots of the lead but, as the wind picked up, he again made back-to-back bogeys at holes 12 and 13.
Scott said after his opening-round 68 he was determined to keep world No.8 McIlroy in his sights.
“You’ve got to keep pace with a guy like Rory,” he said.
“He has the potential to really put his foot down. I’ve seen him shoot lots of low rounds and there’s nothing stopping him from doing that tomorrow either.
“I don’t want him running away. We’ve seen that happen.
“He wins majors by eight.”
Meanwhile, Jason Day was fighting just to extend his campaign into the weekend.
The Australian, who is still being plagued by a left thumb injury, was three-over-par with one hole to play, right on the early projected cut line.
Young Australian Bryden Macpherson completed one of the tournament’s worst performances after carding a second-round 80 on Friday to be a distant last – 26-over-par for the tournament.
It came after the former British Amateur champion shot an 18-over-par 90 on Thursday – the highest single-round score at the British Open in 15 years.
“I think it’s just character-building,” a philosophical Macpherson said afterwards.
Marc Leishman (-3), Matt Jones (-1), John Senden (-1) and Rhein Gibson (even) were among those teeing off in the afternoon, along with the returning Tiger Woods (-3).
South African George Coetzee was the best of the morning starters, carding a two-under 69 to move into tied second, a shot behind McIlroy.