Australian Cameron Smith made a fast start to lead the British Open midway through the second round as Tiger Woods’s challenge fizzled out meekly at St Andrews on Friday. Smith picked up five birdies on the front nine to get to 10 under par, a shot ahead of Americans Dustin Johnson and overnight leader Cameron Young. World No.1 Scottie Scheffler was another stroke back alongside Briton Tyrrell Hatton.
Woods needed a huge improvement on his opening 78 to make the cut at the venue of two of his three Open titles. The 15-time major champion, on his comeback from serious injuries sustained in a car crash last year, flickered into life with a birdie at the third before two bogeys quickly halted his momentum.
He played steadily on the back nine until finding a bunker on the 16th and the ensuing double-bogey took the 46-year-old to nine over par, ending any faint hopes he had of returning at the weekend. He received a standing ovation from the galleries as he walked up the 18th fairway before he missed a short birdie putt to complete a round of 75 that left him tied for 150th place in the 156-man field. He will miss the cut at The Open for just the fourth time in his career, after carding a 3-over-par 75 in Friday’s second round. Woods stood at 9 over, far off the projected cut line of even par.
The top 70 golfers and ties will make it to the weekend. “I’ve been lucky enough to have been (playing at St. Andrews) since 1995,” Woods said after his round. “I don’t know if I’ll be physically able to play another British Open here at St Andrews. “I certainly feel like I’ll be able to play more British Opens, but I don’t know if I'll be around when it comes back around here. It’s very emotional for me,” Woods told reporters. “I think the next one comes around in 2030.” Twice major champion Johnson shot a composed 67, recovering from a bogey at the first to ride a hot putter and make six birdies. “I thought I played really nicely, just drove it well, hit a lot of quality iron shots, gave myself a lot of looks at birdie,” Johnson told reporters. “Obviously, if you look at the history of the tournament, it's a trophy I would love to have in the office when I’m done with my golf career.”