England's Lee Westwood feels he is in position to challenge for the Open title after a second-round 70 took him to one under par at the halfway stage.
Westwood is five shots behind leader Sergio Garcia
"I am delighted. You can only play yourself out of the tournament the first two days and I am right in there," said the 34-year-old.
"Anything under par, or even one over, is in contention.
"With the weather and the challenges of the last few holes almost anyone who makes the cut comes into contention."
For the second day running Westwood's score was aided by an eagle.
On Thursday he sunk a 185-yard five iron on the 15th and he followed that up with a drive, two iron and 15-foot putt for an eagle on the 514-yard 13th in round two.
Westwood was joined in the clubhouse on one under by Scotland's Alistair Forsyth, who carded a second-round 71.
He again performed steadily on the back nine and finished with pars on Carnoustie's notoriously difficult last four holes.
He said: "Finishing strongly yesterday helped me - once you get past the 14th you'd jump at four pars.
There is a lot of golf left in this tournament
"It's been good. There are a lot of people shouting on the Scottish guys.
"It's not a course to attack. I've just been aiming to play for pars, trying to take the trouble out of the way and pick up some birdies.
"I had a couple of practice games with Paul Lawrie. You can learn all the time on this course, with all the little breaks and the greens.
"I've played the course a lot but I'm still learning - it's a tough course but a very fair test of golf."
Padraig Harrington was nicely placed on two under after 17 holes of his second round, but double-bogeyed the last to end up on level par.
The Dubliner, who had started the day four shots behind overnight leader Sergio Garcia, twice moved up to three under but bogeys at the 10th and the 15th pegged him back.
And he three putted from 12 feet on the final green to leave him off the pace.
"I don't think the last hole will affect the outcome of my tournament," he said. "It's a disappointing finish, but it's easy to take six down the last, so it's not out of the blue.
"There are still 36 holes to go and I probably would have taken level par before the start. I have just got to play my own game - there is a lot of golf left in this tournament.
"Maybe I will be more aggressive being level par."
Paul Broadhurst joined Harrington on level par at the halfway stage after a second successive 71.
Ireland's Paul McGinley could not repeat his opening day performance, but his second round 75 means he is within striking distance going into the weekend at level par.
Scotland's Ross Bain (two over) and England trio of Nick Dougherty, Paul Casey and Justin Rose (all three over) all safely booked their place in the weekend's play.
England's Luke Donald was in danger of missing the cut after a 76 put him on four over, but he survived by a whisker.
Donald was five off the overnight leader at the start of the day and picked up a birdie at the second to go two under.
But he double bogeyed the 3rd after finding a bunker and three-putting and triple bogeyed the 6th after pulling his drive out of bounds, which Donald blamed on the noise of a club going into the bag of a playing partner.
He dropped another shot at the 10th, then birdied three of the next four holes, but undid that by losing a ball in the bush for another double bogey on the 15th and bogeyed the short 16th.
"I came back well, so I'm disappointed with the finish and this score is not what I wanted," he said. "But I have to believe I can shoot a couple of 66s."
And Donald refused to blame his partner for the distraction at the 6th, saying: "It was just bad timing. These things happen - it was not on purpose."
Former winner Sandy Lyle, Brian Davis, Jon Bevan, David Howell, Mark Foster and Ian Poulter also finished on four over to make the third round.