American Brian Harman storms clear at the top of The Open leaderboard after stunning six-under round of 65 leaves rivals trailing in his wake

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American Brian Harman storms clear at the top of The Open leaderboard after stunning six-under round of 65 leaves rivals trailing in his wake

  • Brian Harman continued to impress with a blistering second round at Hoylake 
  • The American opened up a five-shot clubhouse lead when he walked off the 18th
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news 

American Brian Harman surged to the top of the Open leaderboard with a barrage of early birdies and an eagle at the last to post a superb six-under 65 in his second round at a windy Royal Liverpool on Friday.

Conditions made scoring devilishly difficult with sub-par rounds few and far between, but the course held no fears for Harman who opened up a five-shot lead.

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Pre-tournament tip Rory McIlroy, who began the day level par, threatened to make a move but with his putter cold he had only improved to one under late in his second round.

Joint overnight leader and local favorite Tommy Fleetwood was in second place on five under before starting his round.

The 36-year-old Harman began the day one stroke behind three leaders but birdies at the second, third, fourth and fifth holes sent him flying into the lead.

Brian Harman acknowledges the crowd after putting out for an eagle to lead The Open

Brian Harman acknowledges the crowd after putting out for an eagle to lead The Open

Harman was all smiles in his press conference after the hugely impressive round in Hoylake

Harman was all smiles in his press conference after the hugely impressive round in Hoylake

The American plays out of a deep bunker on the 17th hole to save himself on Friday morning

The American plays out of a deep bunker on the 17th hole to save himself on Friday morning

It could have been even better for the left-hander as his chip from off the green at the fifth struck the flag and almost dropped in for an eagle.

The rock-steady Harman went out in 31 strokes and kept the momentum on the back nine with a sensational chip-in from off the green at the par-four 12th to avoid a bogey.

Harman, who was tied for sixth at St Andrews last year, then put the icing on the cake with a brilliant approach to the par-five 18th before nailing his eagle putt.

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Of the overnight leaders on five-under after first-round 66s, Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo dropped back after a three-over 74 while South African amateur Christo Lamprecht suffered a poor start, dropping two shots in his first three holes.

Australia’s Min Woo Lee was one of the day’s early movers as he carded a three-under 68 to reach three under.

Just as on Thursday, large galleries lined the fairways alongside the picturesque Dee Estuary, although not all of them to watch the golf as Just Stop Oil protesters briefly halted play at the 17th hole with orange flares and powder.

Rory McIlroy has huge support from the crowd and is tied for 14th on one-under-par

Rory McIlroy has huge support from the crowd and is tied for 14th on one-under-par

Just Stop Oil disrupted proceedings during play at The Open

An orange flare was set off on the course by the eco-zealots

Just Stop Oil disrupted proceedings during play at The Open Championships with an orange flare on Friday afternoon

Officials quickly removed the individuals with the help of American Billy Horschel and there was no damage.

Thousands headed out to cheer on McIlroy and the Northern Irishman gave them some early encouragement by rolling in a birdie putt at the testing par-four opening hole, moving him to one under for the championship.

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McIlroy, bidding to emulate his 2014 victory at Hoylake and claim a long-awaited fifth major, had a great chance of another birdie at the third but missed a four-foot putt.

A superb rescue from a green side bunker at the fifth earned him another birdie to move him firmly into contention.

Min Woo Lee, of Australia, is among the leaders after his impressive three-under-par round

Min Woo Lee, of Australia, is among the leaders after his impressive three-under-par round

McIlroy dropped his first shot of the day at the 11th, missed a birdie at the 12th before making a superb up-and -down from a bunker at the 13th to stay below par.

McIlroy’s playing partner Justin Rose was heading for a missed cut at seven over while Masters champion Jon Rahm, also playing with McIlroy, was struggling at three over and sweating to try and make the weekend cut.

England’s Matthew Jordan, the local player who hit the first ball on Thursday, was well-placed in a group on three under early in his second round.

Australia’s Travis Smyth earned the loudest roar of the day with a hole-in-one at the 17th although at eight over and with the cut likely to be three over he will miss the weekend.

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