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Brian Harman storms into big lead with flawless second round at The Open

Brian Harman storms into big lead with flawless second round at The Open

American Brian Harman finished his flawless second-round 65 with an eagle to take a commanding five-shot lead into the weekend at The 151st Open Championship.


Beginning the day a single shot off the lead, World Number 26 Harman got off to a lightning-quick start on Friday morning, reeling off four birdies in a row from the second to storm to the summit.

The 36-year-old then parred the next 12 holes, with impressive saves on the 12th and 16th helping him maintain his three-stroke advantage.

And he saved his best until last, draining a 15-foot eagle putt on the 18th to reach ten under par and head into the clubhouse with a five-shot lead.

Afternoon starter Tommy Fleetwood had threatened to trim Harman's advantage before a bogey on the 16th saw the home favourite sign for a level-par 71 to sit alone in second place on five under.

Harman's halfway tally of 132 matches the totals 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.

Austria's Sepp Straka was in third place on four under after birdieing six of the last seven holes in his 67.

Left-hander Harman began his second round with a par before catching fire from the second hole - rolling in from 20 feet there before repeating the trick from similar range on the third and fourth for a hat-trick of birdies.

He then hit the pin with his chip at the par-five fifth to set up a simple tap-in for four in a row.

Harman looked in danger of making his first bogey of the day at the 12th as he had to play backwards from a fairway bunker before missing the green with his third shot.

But he managed to chip in for a bonus par before confidently knocking in his nine-foot par save on the 16th to avoid dropping a shot.

Harman found the bunker off the 17th tee but was able to get up and down for a par before reaching the 18th green in two and holing his eagle putt in a grandstand finish.

The two-time PGA Tour champion came into the final Major Championship of 2023 in fine form, having followed up a runners-up finish at last month's Travelers Championship with top-15s at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and Genesis Scottish Open.

Harman has vowed not to let his lofty position on the leaderboard play on his mind after failing to convert his 54-hole lead at the 2017 U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills.

He said: "Delighted with how I'm playing. I'm just really focused on getting some rest and getting after it tomorrow.

"I'm just trying not to get too caught up in it. It's just golf. I think when I held the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open, I just probably thought about it too much.

"Just didn't focus on getting sleep and eating right. So that would be my focus this weekend."

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