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Last Updated: Friday, 20 July 2007, 21:23 GMT 22:23 UK
Garcia still on top at Carnoustie
Sergio Garcia
Garcia is still looking for his first major title
SECOND ROUND LEADERBOARD:
-6 Sergio Garcia (Spa)
-4 KJ Choi (Kor)
-3 MA Jimenez (Spa), Mike Weir (Can)
-2 Jim Furyk (US), Boo Weekley (US)
-1 Andres Romero (Arg), Angel Cabrera (Arg), Lee Westwood (Eng), Alastair Forsyth (Sco), Retief Goosen (SA), JJ Henry (US)

By Matt Slater
BBC Sport at Carnoustie

Sergio Garcia maintained his two-shot lead at the 136th Open after an intriguing second round at Carnoustie.

The 27-year-old Spaniard added a level-par 71 to Thursday's 65 to remain on six under par.

Korea's KJ Choi carded his second straight 69 to reach four under, one better than Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez and Canadian Mike Weir.

Tiger Woods is seven off the pace after a 74, while Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie both missed the cut.

Mickelson carded a 77 to finish two shots outside the mark at six over while home favourite Montgomerie could only manage 74 to miss out by one stroke.

Carnoustie's last Open champion Paul Lawrie, who triumphed there in 1999, is also on his way home after he was only able to match Montgomerie's 74.

With the (bad) weather coming in tomorrow I need to get organized because it looks like it will be a pretty tough day

Tiger Woods

Woods, the world number one and defending champion, started his round just as Garcia was completing his on the adjacent 18th green.

With his game face on and an iron in his hand, the last thing anybody at the Angus links was expecting from Woods was an ugly pull into the Barry Burn.

Forced to take three off the tee, he missed the fairway to the right with his second effort. A double-bogey six ensued.

Garcia, meanwhile, got up-and-down beautifully from the edge of the green to reach the clubhouse 37 shots better off than he managed on his last visit to Carnoustie in 1999.

"It wasn't an easy day out there," he said. "I managed to not make many mistakes. I didn't play as well as yesterday, but I was quite consistent.

"I am in a good position. I just have to keep playing well and believing."

"I feel a bit more comfortable with the belly putter than I did with the little putter. More than anything, under pressure I think I can put a better stroke on it."

Not quite as immaculate from tee to green as he had been during the first round, "El Nino" was forced to rely on his suspect short game.

The Ryder Cup star and his new belly putter came through the test in fine fettle and there will need to be plenty more of the same over the weekend if he is to seal his first major title.

Woods's travails at the 1st looked like an aberration when he rammed home a birdie at the 2nd but the expected charge failed to materialise. In fact, the 31-year-old American's driving was so poor he did well to keep his score below 80.

606: DEBATE
Raith

He will be disappointed but will also know that with bad weather expected he is still very much in the hunt for a third straight Open victory.

"I could have easily have shot myself right out of the tournament but I kept myself right in there," said Woods.

"With the (bad) weather coming in tomorrow I need to get organized because it looks like it will be a pretty tough day."

Also firmly in contention at the halfway stage are Jim Furyk, Angel Cabrera, and South African duo Retief Goosen and Ernie Els.

Furyk is ominously placed, just four off Garcia's lead after two 70s. Alongside the world number three is Boo Weekley. The unheralded American has only just applied for a passport but is enjoying a fine season.

Cabrera, the US Open champion, was slightly at odds with his game but the Argentine birdied the last and is now in a six-strong group at one under. Also on that number is the well-backed Goosen and Lee Westwood and Alastair Forsyth, the leading Brits.

Els was among the early starters and his level-par total just got better and better as the day progressed. Alongside him are Irish pair Paul McGinley, who followed his superb 67 with a hard-working 75, and Padraig Harrington, who shelled three shots in the last four holes.

Jim Furyk
World number three Furyk is well positioned going into the weekend

But it was that kind of day. Still not the "Car-nasty" of legend, the course played half a shot harder than on Thursday and many went backwards.

Perhaps the greatest of agonies, however, were reserved for the 10 players on five over.

It was not until 2120 when Australian Won Joon Lee bogeyed the last to get in at four over - the 70th man to do so - that the likes of Lawrie and Montgomerie learned their campaigns were over for another year.

Others to survive the chop on the number were English hopes Luke Donald and Ian Poulter, who have much work to do this weekend. As have Paul Casey, Nick Dougherty and Justin Rose, just one shot to the good.

Mickelson, the world number two, knew his game was up the minute he double-bogeyed the treacherous last to slump to six over. It was another frustrating Open effort from the American.

Other big names to miss out include Darren Clarke, John Daly and Nick Faldo, not that the 50-year-old Englishman looked that concerned. He is heading to the Senior Open at Muirfield next week and his game looked in reasonable shape on Friday.

But there was some good news for British and Irish golf, with Rory McIlroy now guaranteed the Silver Medal for finishing as the top amateur.

The richly-talented 18-year-old found the going tougher second time around but can be very pleased with his two-over return for 36 holes.

McIlroy's major challenges are ahead of him, however, and the next two days are likely to come down to Garcia's ability to maintain his focus under pressure.

Because that pressure will surely come, be it from the in-form yet still under-rated Choi, the rock-solid Furyk, or one of the many big names lurking in the chasing pack.

And there is none bigger than Woods. His say in this tournament is far from over.

SEE ALSO
Open quotes of the day
20 Jul 07 |  Golf
The Open day two photos
20 Jul 07 |  Golf
Open Diary
20 Jul 07 |  Golf


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