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Front-runner Holmes hoping to add the Claret Jug to close-knit family


All smiles: JB Holmes

All smiles: JB Holmes


Feeling at home: JB Holmes drives at the 14th after a strong second round placed him joint top of the leaderboard

Feeling at home: JB Holmes drives at the 14th after a strong second round placed him joint top of the leaderboard

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All smiles: JB Holmes

American JB Holmes left his dog at home and lost the outright lead in The Open but still hopes he will be going walkies with the Claret Jug tomorrow.

The 37-year-old conceded his one-shot overnight advantage to share top spot with Ireland's Shane Lowry after following his first-round 66 with a 68.

It ensures he will have the latest tee slot on Saturday, which will give him plenty of opportunity to FaceTime with 18-month-old son Tucker - and six-month-old miniature Goldendoodle Ace bought for $5,000 (£4,000) in a charity auction.

"We FaceTime the son, and the dog is in the background. They're never too far apart," said Holmes, who is well known for taking his dog with him on the PGA Tour to keep the family together.

"He (the dog) hears our voice. He doesn't much like the phone.

"You know, I miss my son and I miss the dog.

"They travel with us. We're here for a few more days and then we get to go back and see him.

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"He's been on hundreds of planes probably. I don't know how many flights he's taken but he's been on a bunch.

"It's a little pain getting him through the airport sometimes but it's worth it having a piece of home, being able to travel with a piece of home with you.

"He's like a family member. You ask my 18-month-old son who's his best buddy and he says 'Ace'.

"He sleeps with us in the bed and he's part of the family."

Holmes will be hoping to add a 20-inch, 5.4lbs sterling silver jug part of the family when he leaves Royal Portrush tomorrow.

Holmes finished third at Royal Troon in 2016 but was overshadowed by the thrilling duel at the top between eventual winner Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson.

Heading into the weekend, the World No.55 and Lowry are one clear of the field on eight under.

"It's been just a really good two days for me," added Holmes.

"You can have that great round and then that day where everything goes right but it's nice to get two rounds in a row.

"It shows a little consistency, and two days in a row I've hit the ball really well and putted well.

"I've just always been able to play pretty good when the conditions have been windy and rough.

"You really have to be creative around a links golf course and you just have to be prepared for anything."

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