Danny Willett, bidding to become the first Englishman since Nick Faldo in 1992 to win The Open, opened up a second round two shot lead on Friday with overnight leader Dustin Johnson yet to tee-off.
The 27-year-old from Sheffield was on nine under after 15 holes having started the day one shot behind Johnson.
Four birdies through 14 holes put him three shots clear before he three-putted the par four 15th to drop his first stroke of the day.
Conditions were favourable after an earlier deluge had delayed the start of play by over three hours and forced organisers to reshuffle start-times.
Johnson remained second with Scot Marc Warren, who carded a three under 69, while the American tees off at 5:48 p.m (1648) alongwith pre-tournament favourite Jordan Spieth who is five under after 18 holes.
Six players are three shots off the lead including former world number one Adam Scott, Scotland’s 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie, Zach Johnson, who was briefly tied for the lead with Willett before fading, fellow American Robert Streb, South African Retief Goosen and Aussie shotmaker Jason Day.
The course was playing relatively kind with the rain having softened the greens and making for attackinggolf but was countered by strong winds.
India’s Anirban Lahiri had a bogey free round of 70 and was part of a pack of eight players locked on five under.
Tiger Woods is another late starter and needs a low scoring round if he wants to avoid missing the cut after carding a career-worst 76 in the first round of a major. – Agence France-Presse