HOYLAKE, England - A strong second-round finish has kept Adam Scott in the British Open hunt but it may not matter with Rory McIlroy threatening to run away with the Claret Jug.
McIlroy enjoyed the rub of the green with conditions for the second straight day at Royal Liverpool Golf Club yesterday, carding a second straight six-under 66 to extend his overnight lead to four shots.
The Northern Irishman sits at 12-under par, with big mover Dustin Johnson (65) in outright second and world No.1 Scott nine shots back after a rollercoaster round of 73 in blustery morning conditions.
Fellow Australian Marc Leishman (72), enjoying his best British Open yet, sits alongside Scott at three under with Jason Day (73) scraping inside the cut at two over.
Scott, desperate for British Open glory after painful near misses in recent years, has found himself among the unfortunate half of the field copping the worst conditions on both days.
While the morning groups had the advantage of still conditions on Thursday, it was a reversal on Friday as Scott and a host of big names struggled in strong winds that disappeared mid-afternoon.
With his belly putter also misfiring, Scott dropped as low as one under with two sets of back-to-back bogeys but crucial birdies on his last two holes offered hope for the weekend.
With McIlroy later distancing the field, Scott's bid to became the first Australian British Open winner in 21 years will likely rest on forecast stormy weather arriving on Saturday.
"(The forecast) doesn't look great and I think that's all right," Scott said.
"The last 36 of the major is going to be a grind and if it's tough conditions, you know, I'm certainly up for that challenge.
"I feel like I'm swinging the club really well.
"So the tougher it gets, I think more of that favours me."
Scott had spoken after round one of the need to keep pace with McIlroy, whose two major wins - at the 2011 US Open and 2012 PGA Championship — have come by eight strokes.