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Johnson feeling confident about his game as he sets clubhouse lead at Carnoustie

The 42-year-old American is six under after carding a 67.

Former winner Zach Johnson is confident his game can hold up to the challenge of another Open Championship bid even if no-one seemed to give him a chance going into Carnoustie.

The 42-year-old has never led a major after 36 holes despite winning the 2007 Masters and the Claret Jug at St Andrews in 2015, but he set the clubhouse lead at six under on Friday.

Asked whether he was coming in under the radar the American said: “I don’t know who is managing the radar. It is irrelevant to me.

“If you are going to base it on world ranking sure, that’s fine but I’ve seen the trajectory of my game: I trust my driver, I trust my irons, I trust my putter.”

Johnson started the day two under and dropped a shot at the first but then remained bogey-free with his fifth birdie of the day coming courtesy of a 25-foot putt at the last.

That took him into the outright lead ahead in the clubhouse ahead of Tommy Fleetwood, who shot a best-of-the-week 65 which was bogey free.

First-round leader Kevin Kisner, among the afternoon starters, maintained his position after reaching seven under through 13 holes.

Fleetwood holds the course record at Carnoustie – 63 – and after a runner-up finish at last month’s US Open leapt into contention on the second day.

“It’s no course record, but it will do for today. It was a spirited effort today,” said the Southport golfer.

“It was a very strong round of golf, and I hit a lot of good golf shots.

“If I could pick one tournament in my life to win, it would be the Open. I’ve never been anywhere near before. So far for two rounds, I’m up there on the leaderboard.”

Three-time major winner Rory McIlroy is a shot further back after a second successive round of 69.

On a sunny Thursday the 2014 Open champion attacked the course with driver on almost every hole possible.

When he arrived for the second round to be greeted by constant rain he changed that philosophy.

“Jeez, under those conditions, I would have taken that score today going out,” said the Northern Irishman.

Tiger Woods had a mixed day as, having not carded a bogey until the 10th hole on Thursday, made two in his first three holes.

Tiger Woods was in trouble off the tee on the second hole (Jane Barlow/PA)

His decision to use his driver – which he used just once on the par-five sixth in his first round – at the second proved to be the wrong one, but it was almost more costly for spectators.

Having carved a shot into a bank of rough he attempted a raking hook with the ball above his feet at almost waist height, but it came out low and hard and skirted inches away from the packed gallery he had only just asked to move back.

“If you noticed I moved them back about 40 yards,” the former world number one explained.

“I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.”

The 14-time major winner eventually posted a second successive 71, meaning he shot consecutive rounds at par or better to start a major for the first time since the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he finished joint sixth.

“I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being two-over through three, but got it back,” he added.

“The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rained, and we were able to control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice, and certainly birdies could be had out there.”


From Belfast Telegraph