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The 137th Open Championship
Royal Birkdale - 17-20 July, 2008

Korea's KJ Choi is the clubhouse leader in the second round on one under after he fired a three-under par 67 at the Open at Royal Birkdale.

Earlier two-time champion Greg Norman, 53, rolled back the years to fire a 70 to lie one shot further back.

Colombia's Camilo Villegas hit the best round so far with a five-under 65 to sit on one over.

Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington are in a group on two over, while 2001 champion David Duval is making a move.


To get involved, text us on 81111, and join the debate on 606 (not all contributions can be used)

By Ben Dirs

2002: We're going off air and that's my cue to wrap things up. It's been an enormously fascinating day at Birkdale and I think it's probably fair to say that anyone who made the cut (which we think is going to be at 10 over) could still win it. But one thing's for sure, with high winds and rain forecast for tomorrow, most people will be going backwards on moving day...

1954: Still eight matches out there as Duval and Co stroll towards the 18th green. Duval punches to within five feet of the cup at 18 and will have a par putt for a round of 71 and two over overall. David Frost of South Africa finishes with a 73 and he'll be back tomorrow and Duval makes par for a 69. He's three off the lead and tied for fourth at halfway, tremendous display from the 2001 winner. Khan finished with a 72 - he's nine over and could well have sneaked in.

1951: Simon Khan of England is on the 17th and he's 10 over, so he could do with a birdie from somewhere. Duval pushes his nine iron approach to the back right of the green at 18.

1946: David Duval pars the 17th to remain on two over and puts manners on his tee shot at 18 and will have a nine iron in. Here's English amateur Thomas Sherreard is currently on the 17th, he's six over and should make the cut to give Chris Wood (+5) a run for his money for the Silver Medal. Duval engages the cameraman in a bit of chat going the last. Hands stuffed in pockets, he looks like he's off to the cornershop for a packet of Golden Virginia.

1937: BBC Two are off air but you can still follow the action on the red button. Daly contrives to three putt from 20 feet on the last and he finishes with an 89 for 29 over overall. He walks from the green wearing the expression of a man who has just spent the last five hours in a motorway service station. Playing partner Heath Slocum bogeys to fall back to nine over, but he should just scrape in for the weekend.

"When Norman won at Turnberry, my fading memory says he played a great final round on a windy day. I seem to remember pictures of him striding up the fairway as others fell to bits. These conditions give some reward for creative golf, rather than grip and rip stuff. That's why older proven greats can outscore up and coming people. The best news is that the high winds stop him from wearing those terrible straw hats." WWM on 606

1935: Daly finds some magic at the last, dropping a wedge over the green-side bunker and to within 20 feet of the cup. He gets some big love from the gallery, and I get the feeling they simply respect the fact he hasn't done a bunk like a couple of players did yesterday.

1930: Monty comes up short with his third shot. Weir makes par and finishes on seven over - what looked like being a pretty decent round was rather ruined by triple bogey at 15. Boo Weekley won't be around this weekend, he makes par at the last with a wedge by finishes 13 over. Not sure what happened to his wand, but I suspect he might have out-angried Montgomerie at some point and snapped it over his knee. And Monty's in with a 75 for eight over overall - he'll be back at Birkdale tomorrow.

1923: I read a newspaper article recently stating that the worst job in the world was an Indian sewage worker. I reckon Monty's caddy might have something to say about that, his boss would have put him through the mill today. The Scotsman comes up short with his approach at 18 but still draws some mighty applause from the hardy stragglers still peopling the gallery.

1919: Monty makes his tee shot sing at 18. Here's Wild Thing, and he's 28 over for the tournament. That's a fine approach at 17, but unless he can find 19 shots at the last, he won't be around this weekend. Duval drops a shot at the 16th to drop back to two over. Some horrendous news just in, unless you're a bird planning on migrating somewhere - there could be 50mph winds at Birkdale tomorrow...

1917: Monty finishes off at the 17th, draining a short one for birdie. The Scotsman is under the current projected cut line at eight over.

1913: That's a gorgeous approach from Monty and he'll have a short putt for birdie. Duval is doing his best to nause up his round at 16 - a poor tee shot and he yanks his recovery into some more wispy stuff. Paul Casey finishes with a par - he's nine over and could miss the weekend. Birdie for Mickelson at the last and that little, Henmanesque fist-pump tells a little story - at seven over and eight off the lead, he's still got an outside chance.

1907: Duval leaks his tee shot into the rough to the right of the 16th fairway. Weir continues to struggle - he's just stuck his approach to 17 into a bunker over the back of the green and any more dropped shots and he could be in trouble. That's a sweet pitch from Casey at 18, he could do with a par to make sure of making the cut. Mickelson hits his approach to within 10 feet of the pin, a birdie would take him to seven over. Mickelson flashes that sheepish little grin of his as he marches down the fairway, he looks like a small boy who's just been praised by his mum after using a proper toilet for the first time.

1903: David Duval taps in for par at 15 and he remains on one over. Poulter leaves his birdie attempt at 18 just right of the hole and taps in for a one-over 71 and +3 overall. Poulter really struck it well today, he looks like a weekend contender.

1858: Four birdies and one bogey for Choi. The 38-year-old has some serious pedigree with seven wins on the PGA Tour. Monty has dribbled his par putt left at 16 to fall back to nine over par. The gallery give Poulter a big reception as he arrives at the 18th green, and Paul Casey makes birdie at 17 to move to +9. Only a par for Mickelson, he's eight over.

1854: Choi has sunk a lengthy one on 18 for birdie and the outright lead at the halfway point. That's a round of 67 and he's one under for the tournament, one stroke ahead of Greg Norman. Ben Curtis, champion in 2003, finishes with a par for a round of 69 and +7 overall.

1850: That's a beauty from Westwood, killing his approach stone dead at 18. News of former champion John Daly - the American folk hero is 26 over for the tournament through 15 and just had a five-over nine at 13. Absolutely horrible. Hasn't David Duval done jolly well today? What a little trouper he is. Weir is all over the shop at the moment, he's found a bunker with his approach at 16.

1846: Choi is accompanied on his march down the 18th fairway by a cameraman on one of those stand-up buggies and the Korean finally alights in the semi-rough to the left of the fairway. He's got 165 yards and after a chat with his caddie he pulls out his nine iron and sticks it to within 30 feet of the hole. Poulter rolls in a long one for birdie at 17, he moves to three over.

"Mr Dirs, why aren't you commending David Duval more? His performance so far is actually more remarkable than Greg Norman's, considering the horror his game has been through. Fair play to you Duval." Arthuros on 606

"I've had a walk around the spectator areas and to be truthful, it's getting a bit messy out there. A few people have been enjoying the hospitality this afternoon and the way some of them are looking, they will pay for their excesses tomorrow."
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac at Royal Birkdale

1841: David Howell will be around at the weekend, he's in with a round of 71 for +7 overall. David Duval pulls into some sand at 15 and Canada's Mike Weir makes triple bogey at the same hole to tumble back to six over.

1837: Weir is having a nightmare on the 15th - he lost his ball after missing the green with his third shot and went back and stuck it in the rough again. Westwood rolls in for birdie at 17 to get back to +8. Duval's on fire! He drains a monster birdie putt on 14 to move to one over and one off the lead.

1832: Poulter leaks his tee shot well right on the 16th. The Englishman is struggling to hold it together heading down the back straight. Here's Ben Curtis, 2003 champion, putting for eagle at 17, and he gets his ball to within a few feet. Westwood of England putts from off the green and finishes six feet past. He's only had one birdie in his opening 34 holes, but he's got a chance of another. Choi leaves his eagle putt too high and his birdie putt gives him a share of the lead.

1829: American Ryder Cupper Scott Verplank just shaves the hole with a long birdie attempt at 18 - a round of 67 and he's four over for the tournament and five off the lead. Els putts for par from six feet... and leaves it right. He falls back to +9 and he'll have to wait and see if he's required for the weekend.

1826: Weir tanks his approach to the 15th green, he'll be knee-deep in cabbage playing his fourth. Choi finds the green with a three wood second at 17 - he'll have stabe for eagle and a share of the lead. Gorgeous third from Monty at 15, although the ball just edges away from the hole at the last second.

1823: Duval still chugging along nicely, he finds the meat of the green with his approach at 13. Mickelson on 15, and he's drags a makable birdie past the hole to stay at eight over. First sighter of David Howell - he's eight over and he comes up short with an eagle putt at 17. Monty's ball was sat up on the face of the bunker and he bunts it down the fairway with his second shot. Howell makes birdie to move to +7.

1817: Weir conjures a par three at 14 and Monty follows him in to stay at eight over. Choi of Korea crunches his tee shot straight down the middle at 17. Monty's tee shot at par-five 15th finds a spot of bother and the Scotsman's got the raving hump about that. Poulter finds the putting surface with his second at the par-four 16th.

1813: Weir's pitch at 14 rolls 15 feet past, Choi makes par at 16 to stay one under for the day and one over for the Championship.

"I battled hard yesterday, but today I got more back. I finished eagle-birdie and I feel happy about that. Birdie at 15 gave me breathing space coming into the last few holes. If the weather conditions are difficult tomorrow that suits me - I'll be ready for it, bring it on." Defending champion Padraig Harrington

1810: Superb bunker shot from Westwood and he should save par at 16 to stay nine over and right on the cut mark. Poulter yanks his birdie putt left at 15 and here's Ernie just missing with his sand escape at 17. He'll tap in for birdie and he could be around for the weekend - he's only missed eight cuts in 62 majors.

1808: Poulter's chip into the 15th green grips and finishes 10 feet from the hole. Pretty managable conditions now, no rain and some of the flags hanging limp for the first time in the tournament. Monty finds the green with his tee shot at 14, but Weir squirts his effort left.

1755: Poulter pushes his par putt just wide at 14 and he drops back to four over. Justin Leonard, champion in 1997, saves par at the last for a round of 70 and seven over overall. Goosen misses a makable par putt to finish with 75 and +6 for the tournament. And that's a round of 68 for the defending champion, Harrington rolling in from six feet for birdie. He's two behind leader Greg Norman going into the final two days.

1751: Featherlite touch from Choi at 15 and he'll have a shortish one for par. Verplank has dropped back to +4 with a bogey at 16. Harrington has the eye of the tiger down the stretch, he's stuck his approach at 18 in the dustbin lid and he'll have a very makable putt to move to +2 overall.

1747: Poulter on tee at the 201 yard 14th and he stiffs a five iron into the green front-left. The wheels have come loose since Poulter unveiled those strides of his, there may be something in that. Weir, golf's Quiet Man, rams his tee shot at 13 into some sand.

European Up
It's bad news for a Briton at the Open
1740: Rose rolls in his par putt on 18 and finishes on six over for the tournament, seven off the lead. Poulter's par putt at the 13th lips out and he drops back to three over. Huge roar on 17 as Harrington drains a whopper for eagle - the only eagle of the day anywhere on the course and he's four off the lead. Weir is right in the mix, he birdies 12 to move to two over. Suddenly we've got plenty of movement at Birkdale.

1737: Harrington rips into his approach at 17 and he's on in two. Verplank has added a fifth birdie at 15 and is now three off the lead. Monty's tee shot skips on the front of the green at the 12th. Duval makes a chip shot disappear at the 10th to move to +2, the former champion really holding things together today. Tom Watson finishes with a par at 18 and he finishes on 10 over - the five-time champion may be on his way home.

1735: The wind catches Rose's nine over approach at 18 and his ball lands over the back. Not only is Poulter striking the ball like a dream, he's having a bit of luck too, his approach at 13 flirting with a green-side bunker and curling onto the putting surface.

1733: Monty rolls in a 10-footer at 11 for par. KJ Choi comes up just short with his birdie putt at 14 to stay two off the lead. America's Scott Verplank is tearing the place up - he's just rolled in his fourth birdie at 14 and is now four off the lead.

1729: After a 20-minute wait on the 17th tee, Harrington marmalises a three wood straight down the pipe. Poulter gets his tee shot solidly away on 13 and we have news of Phil Mickelson who's +9 overall but rattling along very nicely today - one birdie, one bogey after 11 and level par for the day. Clumsy chip from Westwood on 14, his ball rolling back towards his feet.

1725: Tom Watson makes birdie at 17, rolling in a nasty 10-footer - his nemesis over the years - to move back to 10 over. A three down the last and he could make the cut. Poulter has ditched his waterproof trousers to reveal a pair of sky blue and lime plaid bell-bottomed slacks. He may think he looks fly, but he actually looks like Cybil Fawlty. His long birdie putt on the 12th green just lips out and he stays at +2. Rose somehow manufactures a par at 17 after one or two little adventures.

1718: Poulter, for reasons only known to him playing in sunglasses, fires his tee shot at 12 straight into the centre of the green. Rose in schtuck at 17, but he manages to jab out of the rough and he'll have a monster putt for birdie. A couple of you have been asking about Graeme Storm of England - he's in with a 70 and he's six over for the tournament. KJ Choi giving it bunches, the former power lifter sinking a dirty great birdie putt at 13 to move to one over and two off the lead. Manful par putt from Westwood on the same hole to stay on +8. Rose curls his birdie putt at 17 to within a few feet - nice touch, he should make par.

1717: The steely-eyed Choi finds the meat of the 13th green with his second shot. Monty pars the 10th to stay at eight over, right on the projected cut mark.

1713: Goosen's par putt at 16 dribbles just left of the hole, he falls back to +5. Els is having a rollercoaster round, he stiffs a six-footer at 14 to fall back to 10 over. Poulter buries a 10-footer at 11 to stay two over.

1708: Choi makes par at the 12th to remain +2. Goosen going through the mill on 16, the ball is well above his feet for his second shot and he can only tug his ball into more fluff 100 yards up the fairway. Weir slaps his approach at the 10th into a green-side gallery. No cry of "fore!", some poor sausage could be wearing that. Westwood drills his tee shot at the par-three 13th into a bunker protecting the front right of the green.

1702: Goosen leaks his tee shot right on 16, he he'll have to gouge out from the wispy stuff. Westwood sends his birdie putt a couple of feet past on the 12th, he should make par.

"Rubbish, utter rubbish, no wonderTiger has no competion and has spent the longest time as world number one. How can these ranked chaps be thrashed by Greg Norman who played golf in the 70s, can I get a witness out there?" Gamba on 606

"We're getting close to the weekend and we are revving up our celeb watch. Just seen three-time F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart, resplendent in matching blue tartan trousers and hat, shaking hands and having a chat with former American Ryder Cup skipper Tom Lehman outside the clubhouse.

"Weather watch update. There is no rain about at all now and in fact over in the in the distance, it is actually quite bright. The wind is still howling but it should be a nice, dry evening. And now, hereís the weather where you are..."
BBC Sportís Mark Orlovac at Royal Birkdale

1700: Monty pushes his birdie putt just wide on the 9th to stay at eight over. Harrington launches into one with his biggest stick on the 16th tee and that ends up well. Westwood of England puts his tee shot at 12 just to the left of the green. Westwood still wrestling with his putter however...

European Up
1655: One minute he's hacking through the Birkdale rough like Bruce Parry, the next he's playing like Tiger Woods - Monty sticks his second shot at the par-four 9th to within three feet and will have a putt for another birdie to move to +5. Harrington rolls in for birdie at 15, Poulter makes par at 10 to stay at two over.

1649: According to today's Boston Globe, a veteran caddie "once stared at Poulter heading down the fairway in one of his outrageous outfits and said, 'In the old days, if players wanted to get noticed, they played better'." To which I would have expected him to reply, "how many tournaments have you ever won, grandad?" The Englishman is rumbling today - a long conflab with his caddie ends with him finding the centre of the 10th green.

1647: Rose gives himself a great chance of saving par at 16, splashing out from some sand before parachuting a wedge to within a few feet of the hole. Dreamy bunker shot from America's Heath Slocum at the 8th, he should tap in to stay three over.

1645: Ernie Els rolls in his fourth birdie of the day on the 12th to get back to nine over. Alas, he bogeyed the 11th.

It's good news for a Briton at the Open
1637: Harrington rolls in for par at 15. Goosen makes birdie, however, to move back to +3. Poulter just lips out with a 15-footer at 9, he stays two over. Mike Weir of Canada puts his double-breaking birdie putt close on the 8th and taps in for par. "Canada's most popular sportsman," says Ken Brown. That's funny, I've got a Canadian mate and he'd never even heard of him. Monty's on the charge! His 30-footer on the 8th wipes its feet before deciding to go for a dip. Two birdies in a row and the lairy old curmudgeon is back to +8.

"If conditions don't improve, I reckon three or four over could win it, so if Rose keeps it solid, he's in with a shout." Neal via text

1630: Rose plays a delightful third shot out of the whispy stuff at 15, he'll have a 15-footer for birdie. Harrington and Goosen find the middle of the green with their tee shots at 14. Poulter is wielding some seriously hot irons today and he bends in a beautiful approach at the 9th. Lots of putts pulling up short on Birkdale's greens today, as with Rose's birdie attempt at 15. Playing partner Watson is in freefall, he's five over for the day and nine over for the Championship.

1627: Harrington saves par with a six-footer at 13 to stay +6. And here's Ernie Els, rolling in a lengthy putt to move to nine over. The South African might yet make the cut, which is projected to be eight over. Monty taps in at the 7th to climb back to nine over. Westwood desperately needs to tighten up his wheel nuts at the moment, he's looking very rickety, pulling his tee shot at the 10th well left.

1623: Poulter bottles his birdie putt at 8, and Choi comes up short with his par birdie at 9. What a peach from Monty at 7, pulling out a long stick on the tee and sending the ball to within six inches of the cup. Westwood can't make the most of a great iron shot at 9 and misses the birdie putt to stay seven over. Westwood looks to be struggling with his putting stroke at the moment, he's really hanging on for dear life on the greens. The Goose drops a shot at 13 to drop back to four over.

1619: Montgomerie follows up his triple bogey at 5 with double bogey at 6. Keep reading ladies and gents, we could have the first case of a man spontaneously combusting on a golf course on our hands. Choi plops his approach at 9 in the middle of the green. Rose lashes his drive at 15 down the middle of the fairway.

1614: Innovative from Rose on the edge of the 14th green - the Englishman pulls out his driver and taps to within a few feet of the hole. And here's Ken Brown on wildlife! Birkdale's got butterflies, caterpillars, and even natterjack toads apparently, more wildlife than Brannigans's dancefloor at 3am on a Friday morning.

"Will this be Justin's year? Same old saga, pre-tournament hype like we have at Wimblebore every year. Er, no is the simple answer." cantonaa on 606

1607: Poulter just misses with his birdie putt on 7 and remains at two over. Harrington just shaves the left side of the hole with a 20-footer at 12 and stays at six over. Monty has got a beef about something, he's strolling down the 6th fairway like a drunk on a Tube train, periodically stopping and eyeballing someone in the gallery. Everyone keep staring at your newspapers, the mood Monty's in he might go piling in. Westwood dribbles in his par putt at the 8th, and Choi follows him in.

1604: That's some shot from KJ Choi, smashing out of the rough next to the 8th fairway. That's a plum from Harrington on the 12th tee, all over the flag and he's got a makable birdie putt to climb back to +5. Westwood finds the middle of the dance floor with his approach at 8.

1601: Monty's double-bogey putt comes up a few feet short and a triple-bogey seven drops him back to +8. From dreaming of Open glory to struggling make the cut in the space of one hole, that's got to be a serious blow to the knackers.

1557: Weir makes par at the 5th to stay two over overall. Harrington slips back to six over after bogey at 11. A peach of a tee shot from Poulter at the par-three 7th and the Englishman is putting a very handy round together. Mind you, you'd expect it, he is the second best in the world after Tiger Woods...

BBC Sport mole
"Would just like to point out that amateur Chris Wood used our the portaloo behind our studio mere minutes before hitting his wonder chip on the 18th (see 1528). I'm surprised he could still focus clearly after emerging from there as it appears the loo has come straight from a punishing week outside a beer tent at Glastonbury."
BBC Sport's Mole at Royal Birkdale

1555: Monty has found jungle to the back right of the 5th green as Poulter rolls in for par 6 at stay two over and very much in the hunt. It took a stack of people to find Monty's ball, but he's going to have a hack at it... and he's had an airshot! The Scotsman in meltdown and he opts to take a drop. A triple-bogey 7 at best for Monty and that could be his chances over for another year.

1550: Here's Korea's KJ Choi, a man who makes Retief Goosen look as highly strung as Kenneth Williams. He's chugging along very nicely - two over for the Open after four second-round holes. Westwood putting like an IT consultant from Purley - he yanks a medium-length putt well short again at the 7th. But that's a doozy from Choi, curling in a 10-footer to save par.

1544: Poulter hacks out of the rough on the 6th and will have a short iron in. Mike Weir, the Honda Accord of golfers, pings his drive straight down the middle of the 5th. Harrington gouges his ball out of the heavy rough on 10 and immediately shakes his right wrist. Not looking too comfy Padraig, and he'll struggle not to drop another shot. Rose finds sand with his tee shot at 13. That's a dreamy iron shot from Poulter at 6, he'll have a six-footer for par.

"It was unbelievable. Loads of people from my club, all my friends, my family, it was such a special way to finish. There were probably about 50 watching me today. The first target was to make the cut and then win the Silver Medal, but I feel I'm capable of a higher finish than that. I was so nervous on the first tee yesterday but I feel right at home now." English amateur Chris Wood, +5 for the tournament

1540: Monty comes up short with a snaking birdie putt at 4. Defending champion Harrington tugs his putt short at the 10th to drop back to five over. Westwood has a mare on the 6th, pulling a short putt left of the hole and falling back to +7.

1538: Poulter gives his blue-shafter driver a rip on the sixth tee and misses the fairway to the right. He'll have no chance of getting on in two from that rough. Justin Leonard makes a lengthy putt disappear at 10 and climbs back to six over. In the putting stakes, the American former champion is one of the greats.

1534: Fine shot from Westwood at 6, but he still comes up short with his wood. Monty gets a deserved slice of luck at the par-three 4th, his ball flirting with a bunker to the left of the green and scampering back onto the dancefloor. Harrington's recovery at 10 skips 10 feet by the hole, he'll struggle to make par. Poulter on the march, a birdie at 5 and he's moved to two over and three off the lead.

The rough
1531: Harrington has made a right pig's ear of his attempted recovery at 10. It looks like someone put him off and his ball ends up deep in the gallery to the left of the green. This wet rough is causing havoc out there, it must be like playing out of cooked spaghetti. Magnificent from Poulter, he gives himself a very good birdie chance at the 5th.

1528: Goosen climbs into his tee shot at 12 and finds the centre of the fairway. "Boom!" says the BBC's Andrew Cotter, and the 2001 champion David Duval has drained a monster at the 1st to move to two over. Glorious scenes on the 18th - English amateur Chris Wood chips in for a birdie, a round of 70, +5 overall and a weekend berth. He may well have the Silver Medal wrapped up by the end of the day. Monty stops the bleeding with a par at the 3rd.

1525: Rose finds the heart of the green with his approach at the 11th. I suggest you stick with this folks, England are getting their backsides handed to them by South Africa at Headingley - Flintoff and Broad fall in successive overs.

1523: Goosen, putting from the green apron, just misses his par and drops back to +2 after 9. The South African out in 35. Fraser wants to know how England's Peter Appleyard is going - he's +6 after 14 and +10 for the tournament. Harrington sinks his par putt at 9 to remain on four over. Sweet approach from Canada's Mike Weir at the 3rd, the former Masters champion has a compact game and could do some damage in the predicted horrendous weather conditions this weekend.

1520: Here's Worksop's Lee Westwood with a lovely pitch into the 5th. Three pars in a row for Westwood following his bogey at the 1st. Harrington's curling putt at 9 doesn't break enough and he'll have a four-footer for par.

1518: Hello again, I'm with you until the gloaming sets in this evening. There's Monty getting a safe drive away at 3, and Rose does pretty much the same on 11. Monty started out his round grinning like a village imbecile but following his double bogey at the 2nd he looks like a man who has just discovered a giant phallus painted on the front door of his house.

By Sam Lyon

1515: Right, that's me done folks. You have a top weekend, now, and make sure you keep the chat coming - you're all legends. Oh, and my tip seeing as I won't be here to kick me in the funkies when it doesn't come off - Mike Weir. Adios amigos!

It's bad news for a Briton at the Open
1514: Poor from Monty, the Scot having to settle for a double bogey at the second and that leaves him five over with 16 left to play today. Justin Rose does only marginally better as he bogeys the 10th.

It's bad news for a Briton at the Open
Meanwhile, Peter Appleyard fans... it's time to start praying. He's six over for the day through 13, 10 over overall. With the cut projected to be eight over - he's got a lot of work to do down the stretch.

"Can I just say I'm so pleased theres no real talk of Tiger on here - oops!"
Paul, Glasgow via text

1511: Justin Rose is having to play some smart rescue golf so far and he does again on 10 after a fine 100-yard approach leaves him a six foot putt for par. Poulter holes out for a third straight par, but Monty clubs out of the rough stuff left of the second green... and straight into the greenside bunker.

1507: Retief Goosen has another birdie putt - this time at 7 - and once again he leaves it short. He's done that all day so far. Quite the opposite from Harrington on his birdie effort - the Irishman asking for far too much borrow and it slips way past the hole for a three-footer for par. Make that three poor putts, Ian Poulter leaving his birdie putt at the third six-seven feet short.

1502: "At the end I was more worried about stepping on someone else's line than the putt itself - but hopefully they will be my nine bad holes this week and I can go on from here. There's still a big chance to win - I just need a couple of decent scores to give myself a chance."
Sergio Garcia on BBC Two

Meanwhile, a word on Danny Chia, who looks like having the ignominious honour of propping up the field come the end of play - he's 16 over for the day through 16, and 22 over overall. Ouch.

1456: Ian Poulter saves par on 2, while Monty shows a delightful touch with a chip from off the green to within a foot of the hole on the first - he bags a four. His playing partner snags a par, while over on the ninth, a monster putt from Justin Rose somehow lips and stays out - he has to settle for a par.

1450: Man, we've seen some cracking bunker shots today - but none better than Goosen's at seven, the South African floating up, out and then into the hole - beautiful. Harrington cannot follow suit, though, as he pushes his birdie putt past and he has to settle for a par. His tee shot deserved more. Over on the 414-yard ninth, Tom Watson drills a dream of an approach to within a couple of feet of the hole.

"Golf inspired road names? (See below) We moved onto Lyle Avenue, but they were still building it when we got there. They quit halfway through. Sorry could't resist!"
A bored Chris at work via text

1448: Moments after Justin Rose saves par on 8, Padraig Harrington drills a splendid tee shot to within four foot of the hole on seven. Not so good for Ian Poulter, who hooks his approach to the second left and he's found the sand.

1446: Bad news all round here. Tom Watson drags a short par putt past at the sixth - but, even worse than that, apparently I've missed the lovely Myleene Klass dining in the BBC canteen. Where's the justice?!

1444: Monty kicks off his round with a firm drive down the fairway, while Weekley - greeted by "Boos" (geddit?!) from the crowd - spanks one just into the fluffy stuff - that's fine. Mike Weir also gets off to a good start and this could be a competitive little group, this.

1440: Colin Montgomerie - who will play alongside Mike Weir and Boo Weekley today - approaches the first tee to be greeted by some 'positive' feedback - he doesn't tell them to pipe down... yet. Meanwhile, over on 6, Harrington misdirects his par putt and he is forced to take a five, on 2 Lee Westwood goes agonisingly close to birdie with a long putt - a shot replicated by KJ Choi - and on the eighth Justin Rose digs himself out of the bunker well to leave himself a short putt for par.

It's bad news for a Briton at the Open
1436: Ian Poulter misses a birdie chance at the first, pushing his attempt three foot past - but it's worse for Justin Rose as he punts from one fairway bunker to another at the eighth.

"My sister used to own a house on Peter Oosterhuis Quadrant... nah, only kidding!"
jonthebhoy on 606
Join the debate

1433: Ouch. Sergio Garcia pushes a simple par putt past at the 18th - complete brain failure there - and he has to settle for a three-over 73 and score of five over at the midway point.

"I used to live in Father Cullen Park. He's a pretty useful 9 Handicap in Warrepoint!"
John McG. Newry via text

"There's a road where I live called Tom Morris Ave. Could be because of Old Tom Morris?"
Jamie in north Wales via text

"I grew up on an estate named after famous golfers. My family were on Sarazen Drive. Hagen Road was next."
Steve B (Tring) via text

1430: Lee Westwood does well, up and down from off the green, including a sunk seven footer, and it is just a bogey to start - that could've been worse. Anthony Wall pars the 14th to stay at three over, while Ian Poulter - who believe it or not actually looks quite dapper in pastel green jumper and black trousers - finds the green with a fine second shot at the first.

1427: Justin Rose and Tom Watson both take putters from off the green and neither are too bad, both stopping within seven-eight feet of the hole. Meanwhile, Padraig Harringon finds the fairway off the tee at the difficult sixth and Retief Goosen follows suit. Elsewhere, Simon Wakefield appears to be settling down after a horrible six dropped shots round the turn, the Englishman joining Ross Fisher on six over with three straight pars.

"There's a road near me called Anthony Wall. Does anyone else know of a golfer inspired street?"
Wendy, Bracknell via text
(I used to live in a road called Vista Drive if that helps? SL)

It's bad news for a Briton at the Open
1420: Talking of oh dear - Lee Westwood, having sent his tee shot on the first deep into the rough, then moves the ball approximately 0.5 inches with his second shot. He draws a breath, looks to the heavens, and then chops it way wide of the green and only just past the greenside bunker. A sure bogey at best there.

1418: Oh dear - Peter Hanson misses a relatively easy birdie chance at 18 and he finishes with a par and a round of 72. Just lacking a bit of 'Mmmbop' there I think, but he'll still be happy enough on three over for the championship.

1417: One hole good, one hole bad for Justin Rose at the moment as he bogeys six following a poor tee shot. The latest news on the projected cut is that eight over will see you on your way home.

"Ben (1358), bacon baps - Sam had two!!!"
Anon via text

1412: Sergio Garcia left himself with a long, long eagle chance at 17 and while it goes by the right, he's well set for a birdie to get back to four over.

1407: Goosen gives a bit of a lesson in bunker play with a delicious exit from the greenside sand at the fourth and he's four foot from the hole. Tom Watson, meanwhile, drills a nice iron just short at six and he faces a tricky up and down. Back at the fourth, Harrington's long birdie putt drifts wide but he looks good for another par.

1359: Impressive - and aggressive - from Justin Rose as he sinks a lovely birdie on the fifth to move to three over.

1358: Harrington has caught the bug of the day on his putt at three and his birdie chance is left three foot short. Tom Watson two-putts for par, Aaron Baddeley leaves his par putt short... and then Irishman Harrington returns to hole his par and stay on three over.

"Bacon bap at eleven and lunch at one Sam? So that's where the licence fee's going! High tea, dinner and a late supper to come?"
Ben, Cambridge via text

1355: Right, I'm back. I think I'll leave Dirsy to his day-dreaming about Camilo Villegas for an hour or so... And as I return Retief Goosen pushes a birdie putt inches past the hole on three and he stays on one over for the championship.

By Ben Dirs

1349: James Ormskirk texts in to ask what the course record is at Birkdale. I can tell him it was set by Jodie Mudd of America in the fourth round of the 1991 Open Championship - 63 blows, including eight birdies. I think I'd cut off one of my extremities just to play one round of golf like that. Rose laces an iron down the middle of the 5th while Garcia has a slice of luck - his ball skipped through a green-side bunker at 16 and he flops on a few feet from the cup.

1344: Rose rolls in for birdie at the 4th and he climbs back to four over. The Big Easy is out on course, Ernie gets his tee shot away safely at the 1st. A 72 for Sweden's Jacobson and he's right in it at +3 for the tournament. Sand for Garcia at 16, he could be dropping back to +6.

1338: Rose finds the heart of the green at the 201-yard par-three 4th. Fruity language from Jacobson after he sprays his iron approach at 18, no need for that! Sweden's Hanson pulls his par putt at 16 to drop back to four over.

"I just have to go out there and get stuck in. I played well yesterday and I'm looking forward to doing the same today. My caddie has a huge job to play in weather like this, you've got to work as a team. The fire's burning, this is a proper tournament and one I want to win. The oven is on hot." England's Ian Poulter, who tees off at 1420

1335: That's peche de la peche from Harrington who splashes out of the trap atthe 2nd and watches his ball check and dribble into the cup. Birdie and he's now +3. Playing partner Goosen makes par.

1330: Justin Rose overcooks his chip at the 3rd and he's got a nasty little 8-footer to make par. Simon in Hartlepool would like to know how Graeme Storm of England is faring in the Birkdale gloom - he's seven over for the tournament after four holes of his second round. It's all happening. Harrington finds a pot bunker with his second shot at 2, Garcia makes a clutch par putt at 15 to stay five over and Rose drains his eight-footer to stop the rot at 3. The Englishman stays +5.

1324: When Tom Watson won his last Open title at Birkdale in 1983 he was awarded £40,000. This year, you'd only have to finish in 21st to earn that much. Something for all you ladies and gay men out there, some snaps of Camilo Villegas. He's sandwiched between some chap called Ace Young Jake Gyllenhaal in People magazine's hottest bachelors 2006. Mind you, Kenny Chesney is also in the list and he looks like the bloke who fixed my gutters a few weeks back.

1322: Sweet green-side touch from Harrington, he's got a tap-in for par at the 1st. Garcia has pushed his drive at the par-five 15th but plays a solid recovery and should be on in three.

"Just been for a wander to the 6th and it is getting pretty rammed out there. One of the 'Open Arms' boozers that I saw was doing brisk business. Take it easy boys, it's a long day. Update on the celeb spotting front, well, almost. I've just seen BBC Radio 5 Live rugby union correspondent Ian Robertson - he was the man behind the microphone when England won the World Cup you know."
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac at Royal Birkdale

1321: All three players come up short with their approaches at the 1st which shows that the dank air is messing with the flight.

"Will the weather cause anyone to play 'World War II Golf' today? Out in 39, back in 45?" Tom, bored at work, London via text

1318: Anthony Wall of England drops another shot at 10, tugging a 10-footer just left of the cup. He's now +3 and his round is in danger of coming apart at the seams.

1315: Harrington just carries the trap at the 1st and is just about on in two. Fine shot that. Rose drops a shot at 2 and falls back to +5. It may be horrible up in Birkdale but it never seems to bother our Swedish friends - Freddie Jacobson is dressed all in ice white, he looks like a Fox's Glacier Mint.

"It's sheeting it down. A bit like 'Black Thursday'. The late starters must be cursing their luck."
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac at Royal Birkdale

1312: Justin Rose sprays his approach at 2, that is wicky, wicky wild, wild west and for his third shot he has to gouge his ball out of a green-side hillock. He plays it well, but he's got a biggun for par. Sweden's Hanson is still right in it, although he looks like dropping back from two over after finding trouble at 16. Another solid par from Garcia at 14 and he stays five over.The venerable Watson kicks off with two par fours.

1310: Five-time champion Tom Watson knows how to grind it out in the grot and that's another steely approach into the 2nd green. Defending champion Padraig Harrington gets his tee shot safely away at the 1st, as does two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen and 1997 Open winner Justin Leonard.

1305: Adam Scott's par putt at 18 just slides past and he adds a 74 to his first-round 70 and he's four over overall. The cameras getting all steamed up on the 18th green which gives you some idea of the conditions. Former Masters champion Johnson holds his nerve at 18 and finishes with a 72 and he's five over for the tournament.

1303: Some old school footage of Gregory Norman - wins in 1986 and 1993 and what a story it would be if he won again aged 53. Poor old Greg, he was just bemoaning his late dinner last night and early rise this morning. If I was him I would have got my driver to stop off at an ATM on the way to the course this morning just to have a little look at his latest statement, that might have cheered him up.

1259: The bad news is that the weather's taken a turn for the worse, you'd have to pay me a few thousand quid to get me out in these conditions. Which is handy, because that's exactly what these boys are getting. Garcia makes a clutch putt at 13 to stop the rot and stay five over. Peachy touch from Watson on the 1st green, he'll make a solid par in driving rain. Rose is on in three but his 15 footer has a little dance round the cup before ducking in via the side door for par.

1253: Afternoon ladies and gents. Bit of a break there I'm afraid - Villegas of Colombia was chatting to Hazel on the telly and, by God he's a handsome so and so. And what a round, five birdies to finish and some extraordinary touch around the greens.

"I putted a hundred times better than yesterday. I started with two bogeys and if you had told me I'd have ended up five under I wouldn't have believed you. It's a tough golf course, it's very different from what we're used to in the States. Yesterday morning was bruatal and I was lucky to be the other side." Colombia's Camilo Villegas on BBC Sport

By Sam Lyon

1249: "On the tee... Justin Rose!" announces Ivor 'the voice' Robson, and the Englishman responds by kerplunking a long iron down the right and into the messy stuff. Oops. Tom Watson's up next - Ivor got excited and his voice nearly broke on the 'Wat' bit there, although maybe he just needs a toilet break - and Watson stings a beauty down the middle. Aaron Baddeley fares the worst, though, kerplunking in straight into the long stuff on the left. And on that note... I'm off for a bit of luncheon... "Next on the commentary... Ben Dirs!"

1242: Robert Allenby, who to be fair has held it together quite well following a shocking front nine, bags a second birdie in three holes at 17 to move back to two over and just three off the lead. Compatriot Adam Scott, meanwhile, sends a decent-looking iron into the bunker at 17 and his round of four over is in danger of getting worse.

Peter Alliss
"It really wouldn't surprise me if Norman went on and won this championship. His form is excellent, his mood is good, he's as fit as a flea. I certainly wouldn't bet against him."
BBC Sport's Peter Alliss on BBC Two

1235: A cracking reception for Norman as he strides towards the 18th... much deserved. In a matter of seconds, though, the heavens open and it appears to play havoc with the Australian's putt, Norman pushing it a country mile past the hole and off the green, leaving himself with a monster to save par... He makes it!! Stunning putt from the big man, absolutely stunning. That's his round done, he's level par and Greg Norman leads the championship.

European Down
Elsewhere, Garcia's putt from off the green at 11 rips past the hole and he leaves himself a 15 footer just for bogey. He doesn't make it, it's a double, and he's five over.

1227: Greg Norman punts into a stiff wind, but finds the green from the fluffy stuff left of the green and he'll have a two-putt from the edge for par and level par score overall.

1223: A bogey at the ninth for Ross Fisher and the Englishman drops to five over, three over for the day.

BBC Sport mole
"True legend Jack Nicklaus is at Birkdale today, which is very exciting. He has done an interview for the BBC which you will be able to see a bit of shortly and in full on Saturday morning when, amongst our guests on the show, will be Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo and possibly George Clooney - if I can drag him out of Crystals that is..."
BBC Sport's Mole at Royal Birkdale

1216: A fine escape in the end from Norman, who gets up and down from the bunker to snatch a bogey from 17 and even though he falls back to level par, that'll feel like a birdie after his first four shots.

1213: Villegas holes it!! He putts in sensationally from the fringe on the back of the green for five straight birdies to finish a round of 65 - and not only is that by far the round of the championship, it's also put the 26-year-old Colombian bang in the mix at one over at the end of his second round. Stunning work. Nick Dougherty and Jim Furyk also hole out - they both register 71s to finish six over and two over respectively.

1212: Aaannnddd... Norman's fourth shot finds the backside bunker.

1210: Norman's having a bit of a 'mare out there on 17 - his third shot, having chipped out of the heavy rough, finds the rough to the right and short of the green. He's going to need a superb up and down to escape with a par.

1207: Gregory Norman's fine round could be coming to a stuttering halt - he's found the filthiest kind of rough seen this side of Faces, Gants Hill at the 17th and he may struggle to even lay up from there. Villegas's lie is a little better but it's still in the long grass at 18... and he hits the pin! It skips over the greenside bunker, crashes off the flag and rolls to the fringe of the green. Great escape, but it could've been even better...

1201: Graeme McDowell pulls his birdie attempt at 18 left and he settles for a par - that's a round of 73 and he'll definitely be within a shot or a few come the end of today.

"On the subject of putts. A nasty little five-footer is known as a 'Dennis' after the erstwhile Leeds manager Wise."
Mark at work in Wales via text

1158: Ber-limey! Camilo Villegas of Colombia is now four under for his round after a birdie at 17 and two over for the championship. Apparently he was the only sportsman in the top 100 of a recent ranking of the world's most eligible bachelors or something. I can't say for certain, but without looking I'm guessing I was maybe top 10.

1155: Jim Furyk plays a lovely putt attempt at 17 but the birdie effort drifts onto the lip and refuses to drop in, so it's a par five and he's still one over. Simon Wakefield, meanwhile, holes out for bogey at 7 to drop to one over.

1153: Par for Garcia at nine for a score of 35 at the turn, while Jim Furyk pulls off a decidedly average bunker shot at 17 to leave himself a tricky long putt. Leader Greg Norman is also in the sand at 16, but his escape is 10 times better, the Shark getting over the lip and holding the ball within a few feet of the hole. To ape cricket commentating legend Richie Benaud - 'Marvellous effort, that'.

"Howard 1139, a short putt is also known as a 'Bon Jovi' after the lyric 'woah, we're halfway there!' in their rock epic Livin on a Prayer."
Jimmy Shaker, Lossie via text

1146: Graeme McDowell does well to hold onto par at 17 and he stays two over.

1143: A look around the rest, now, and England's Ross Fisher recovers from a bogey at six with a par at seven, but he's two over for the day, four over for the championship. Colombian Camilo Villegas sinks his third straight birdie to lay two under for the day through 16, three over for the championship. And England's Chris Wood is the leading amateur on the course on five over, level par for the day through five.

European Up
1139: Sergio's getting the putter to talk right now, and it's saying 'par'. A nice hold on 9 for the Spaniard. McDowell, on the other hand, is barely getting any of his clubs to even hum - his bunker shot at 17 drifts down the slope and he has a 12/15-footer for par.

"Sam, you seem to be reporting a lot of putts pulling up short. Surprised the pros don't follow the 'never up, never in' adage. Give it a whack!"
Howard, Egham via text
(Did you get that from the Happy Gilmore school of golf? SL)

1136: Rocco Mediate holes out his birdie at 18 and that's a 73 and a finish of two over overall. The US open runner-up is bang-a-lang in the mix, people.

1135: That looks a delightful escape from Simon Wakefield on 6, the Englishman holding up a lovely chip with backspin to within a few feet of the hole - a par save, surely. Unfortunately, McDowell finds the right-hand greenside bunker on 17, while American Jim Furyk saves par at 16.

1134: Gavin in Sevenoaks has asked for an update on Peter Appleyard - in fact I seem to remember a few of you were backing him yesterday, am I right? Well he's just kicked off his round with a par at the first and he stays four over - not bad, not bad at all.

US up
It's good news for a Briton at the Open
1133: Anthony Wall has hit a bit of a wall (that was rubbish wasn't it) as he misses a long par putt to drop another shot and fall to two over. On the flip side - a remarkable shot from Rocco Mediate as he sends his second shot at the 18th to within a foot of the hole from 150 yards back in the rough. Cracking shot.

1131: Simon Wakefield's approach at six falls a long way short of the green, but Jacbbson pulls a beauty of an approach out of the bag at 11 and that's as good a shot as we've seen all day at this hole. By the way, I've decided Fredrik Jacobson is a cross between Gary Oldman, Mickey Rourke and Kiefer Sutherland, just so you know.

It's good news for a Briton at the Open
1126: That's more like it from McDowell, the Northern Irishman sinking a birdie putt at 16 to go back to two over.

1120: Ooh! Simon Wakefield's birdie putt at 6 pulls up short and he misses the chance to join Greg Norman at one under for the championship. Maybe he'd do better if he wasn't wearing a towel and singing into a mirror while putting on his make-up. No, hold on, again that was Whigfield, not Wakefield. Greg Norman's birdie effort at 14 also pulls up short but he stays on top.

"I hate my job so much I'm actually following golf online at work to pass the time. What's a Bogie?"
Jo via text
(A nine-year-old's favourite meal? Ba-dom-boom-boom...tish! SL)

1118: That's three dropped shots in five holes for Adam Scott, who bogeys 11 to fall to three over.

1117: Anthony Wall drops to one over after a long putt at 3 pulls up short, while Norman's tee shot on 14 finds the green, holding up 10 feet from the hole. Perfick. Elsewhere, Rocco Mediate - who hooked his tee into the left-hand rough - chips his fourth shot to within 10 of the hole to give him a chance of par, and the same for Sergio Garcia, who has a six-footer for par at 7. Jim Furyk, meanwhile, misses a seven-foot birdie chance at 15 and he stays two over for the championship.

"Sorry Paul via text (see 1030), whilst in Birkdale I'm only reading the bible, aka the Southport Visiter (sic). As far as I'm concerned what is written in there is gospel and until they tell me otherwise I will be at Crystals tonight with George, drinking Cristal and telling outlandish anecdotes to a bevvy of beauties."
BBC Sport's Mole at Royal Birkdale

"Sam, it might well be wrong, but I used to have the odd naughty thought about Whigfield..."
BunyeeYumper on 606
(What, you mean like putting worms in her spaghetti or throwing grass in her hair? SL)

1106: I held out well there didn't I? Five hours of bacon sarnie chat and only at the final hurdle did my resolve break. I mean, yes, I had two, but still... Anyway... Greg Norman makes a comfortable four on 13 to stay ahead of Whigfield and Wall by a shot.

By Saj Chowdhury

"I've got Whigfield's 1st album, it's amazing. Not a song on it that I skip. Aint It Blue is my favourite."
horsetipster on 606
(I guess that posting is for Lyon? SC)

1058: Sam Lyon, who is currently munching on a bacon roll, has just told me that England's Steve Webster has had a 'mare. Safe to say he won't make the cut having shot an 80 to go with his 79 from Thursday - 19 over is not a good look.

1057: Unlucky for England's Anthony Wall who comes close to dabbing in from the edge of the second green. Nice bobble hat Anthony - a bit like Benny from Crossroads (1970s/1980s British soap opera).

1054: A good three from Norman on the 12th - he still leads by one. One under will be a decent score because the forecast is for the weather to get a tad bit worse.

1051: The mighty Sam Lyon has gone for a well earned break so I'll take over for a bit. I love Jacobson's outfit. What about The Shark? Tremendous effort.

By Sam Lyon

1050: England's Anthony Wall birdies the first to join compatriot Simon Wakefield on level par, one behind leader Norman. By the way, every time I write or say Wakefield, I think of dodgy 90s Danish pop star Whigfield. How wrong is that, say, on a scale of one to 10?

"Why does everyone go on about Greg Norman having such 'charisma'? Great golfer yes. Blond-haired yes. One for the ladies maybe. But he's as charismatic as a pint of Guinness."
Ben in Guildford loading up the motor, Birkdale & bacon sarnies here we come! via text(Mmmmm... Guinness... SL)

"That's nothing Sibex (see below), I've got 12-1 for Monty then hurling his flattened cap at his caddy's face."
aberdeenmkey on 606

1042: Greg Norman gets up and down brilliantly at the 11th to save par and Simon Wakefield does the same at three and that's your one-two as things stand people. Anyone predict that?

1041: American Rocco Mediate is struggling a bit now, he's bogeyed the 14th to go two over. Sergio Garcia, though, does well after a poor first putt to hole out at the fifth and save par - he stays two over. By the way - Nick Dougherty continues happily along parring any and every hole - he's level par in a blemish free round through 12 so far and he stays on his overnight five over.

"Can anyone better this... Ive managed to get 6-1 on Monty throwing his cap to the ground and jumping up and down on it whilst mumbling profanities by the 12th hole today."
sibex1969 on 606
Join the debate

1034: A setback for Adam Scott as he bogeys the eighth to drop back to one over. His compatriot Greg Norman still leads the way on one under - for now anyway, as he's tonked his second shot at the 11th way right - with Simon Wakefield on his own on level par.

1030: Furyk follows that tee shot with a lovely putt for birdie and Dave, his missus (see below) and Ben Dirs all rejoice as he goes to one over. Less happy are Miguel Angel Jimenez fans - the Spaniard is five over for the day through five and he now lies seven over. Not close, but still a cigar for the blonde bombshell.

"Tell the Mole to check the main local rag 'The Echo' - the Clooney story is in there in the insider coloumn (he ain't coming!). I thought it's the type of source the mole would have checked?!"
Paul, Liverpool via text

1029: Fredrik Jacobson three-putts at the seventh to ruin a couple of great approaches and he drops to one over for the round, while Adam Scott leaves his approach at the ninth short and he faces a tough up and down from off the green. Jim Furyk, meanwhile, finds the green with a lovely tee-shot at the 12th.

1023: Sensational! He needed that! Sergio Garcia snakes an absolute monster from around 50 feet at the fourth for birdie and he moves back to two over and level for the day. Cracking putt, that, equal to Greg Norman's earlier in the day.

1018: Shirt of the day so far award goes to... Woody Austin! The American, seven over for the championship, is sporting a Karate Kid Miyagi dojo-esque white-with-pink-and-blue-random-design-thingymajig-on-the-back top. I daren't wonder who dressed him this morning.

BBC Sport mole
"Southport has been tense in anticipation all week at the arrival of Hollywood megastar and devilishly handsome beast George Clooney. Early in the week the Southport Visiter (sic) reported that he had a penthouse in the town's most salubrious hotel and would be entertaining guests tonight at Crystals restaurant and wine bar. I'm highly dubious that he will be there but in the interests of investigative journalism I will check it out. Well, that and the hope I'll be able to feed off his scraps, obviously."
BBC Sport's Mole at Royal Birkdale

It's good news for a Briton at the Open
It's bad news for a Briton at the Open
1012: It's hard work for Graeme McDowell today as he settles for bogey on the 10th after that wayward second shot. It's much better news for Simon Wakefield, though, the Englishman chipping straight in at the first for birdie to go level par.

1008: Sergio Garcia almost snakes one in from the edge of the green for birdie, but it trickles narrowly right of the hole. He remains three over. Similarly, Greg Norman pulls right on the ninth and he has to settle for a par to stay one under. The shark is on fire today!

It's bad news for a Briton at the Open
1007: England's Ross Fisher gets going with a bogey at the first - oops - while Graeme McDowell - who bogeyed the 10th on the last hole - has hit his second shot into the heavy rough behind the TV cables at 11. Not good.

"You ok Sam, you seem mildly irrated today?"
Toby, London via text
(Haha, not at all mate. I've got the weekend off, you see... SL)

Mark James
"I'm thinking a cut of around 10- or 11-over come the end of play today."
Mark James on BBC Two

0959: Mediate holds it together well at the 12th and he holes out for par to stay one over for the championship. Elsewhere, Fredrik Jacobson moves into a share of second on level par with a birdie at the fifth. Quick question - what on earth does he look like with that mullet and wild west-esque moustache and beard?!

"Read by millions daily? Great! Cortina for sale folks - any takers?"
Ferdz, Manchester via text

"Sam, why no mention of Furyk? Regular updates please (because I've backed him, as opposed to the mrs having the hots for him...)."
Jim via text
(An unspectacular round for the American so far mate, one bogey and one birdie and he's level par for the round, one over for the championship. SL)

0954: I say behind Norman and Scott... but the Shark is on the hunt again as he sinks a beauty of a putt at the eighth to take the outright lead once again on one under. Missus Norman Chris Evert beams away proudly. A double bogey at the 15th, meanwhile, for Van de Velde and he's back to four over.

US down
0952: Rocco Mediate does indeed struggle to get up and down on the 11th and a double bogey sees him drop back to one over par behind Australian duo Greg Norman and Adam Scott.

"Anybody noticed one of the amateurs has started this morning par-birdie-par-birdie-par??"
ramilas1 on 606
(Yep, you, obviously. It's Benjamin Hebert of France by the way people. SL)
Join the debate

0944: Sergio Garcia recovers from a wayward tee shot at the second by punting one out of the thick rough and onto the green. Bit of Spanish flair, that.

0942: Rocco Mediate takes out a few members of the watching throng to the right of the 11th green - no blood, though, so this is still PG viewing - and he may struggle to get up and down from there. Nick Dougherty, meanwhile, is through eight holes and has hit par at every one. He is five over Dave (and Dave's missus - see below).

"Sam, can you let us know how Nick Dougherty is faring. He is the only reason my wife will ever watch golf!"
Dave, Yeovil via text

0936: Oh dear. Garcia three-putts at the first - missing a four-footer for par - to register a bogey and he drops to three over for the championship. The Spaniard started similarly slowly yesterday but his fans will hope he that doesn't set the tone for his round. Graeme McDowell, meanwhile, holes out at the ninth for par.

0933: Sergio Garcia - back to the short putter this season after a spell with the belly form - misses a birdie putt from just off the green and he has a bit of work to do to save four. No such worry for Greg Norman who holes another monster at the seventh for birdie to go back level par.

"Come on Rocco! I backed him earlier this week at 200/1 and if he wins I'm buying new clubs. But I havent mentioned it to the wife so shhhhh."
Adam in Manchester via text
(In the interests of secrecy, I've posted your message on the BBC Sport website which is read by millions daily. Hope that helps - SL)

"How come none of you have mentioned the absolutely critical huge mug of builders' tea that needs to go with the bacon sarnie?!"
Win at work via text

0931: Par-bogey-birdie-par so far for Adam Scott and he remains one off the lead on level par, while Fredrik Jacobsen follows a bogey five at the second with a birdie at the third to go one over for the championship. Still overcast but dry at Royal Birkdale, with the wind evident but nowhere near as strong as yesterday.

0925: Greg Norman is made to pay for his poor tee-shot and he two-putts at the sixth for a double bogey to slip back to one over. Now outright leader Rocco Mediate, meanwhile, misses a birdies chance at the 10th and he stays one under. Peter Hanson sinks a birdie at the first to go level par for the championship.

BBC Sport mole
"Morning all. Is it really July? is the question I've been asking myself this week. Whilst getting dressed this morning I happened upon a pair of bermuda shorts I had packed. What on earth was I thinking? Worryingly though I'm starting to run out of clean clothes so may be forced to don them come Sunday, which I don't think the R&A would be too impressed with."
BBC Sport's Mole at Royal Birkdale

0920: The same downbeat attire as yesterday for Sergio Garcia - no bananaman outfit in sight - as he spanks his tee shot from the first just left of the fairway into the light rough. No worries.

0917: Mixed fortunes for those at the top as McDowell's approach at the seventh drops to within 10 feet of the pin, while Greg Norman has left himself a 15-footer for bogey.

"Can I just say how disappointed I was that no-one responded to my question yesterday regarding whether Sandy Lyle had ever played a round with American Ladies pro Lori Tate. For crying out loud someone must know?"
jonthebhoy on 606
(Is this an exceptionally poor Tate & Lyle gag? Are you really that angry? Why am I engaging you on this? SL)

European Down
0908: Boo! Jean van de Velde's blemish-free round is interrupted by a bogey at the 12th and the Frenchman drops to two over for the championship. Swede Fredrik Jacobsen follows suits with a dropped shot at the second and he's alongside Van de Velde, three off the leaders.

"Much as I love (official starter) Ivor Robson, I recently went on a golfing holiday and my mate would insist on saying "on the tee..." in his best Ivor voice at every hole. For a week. I now can't hear the great man send the players off without wincing."
Ed, thoroughly bored in Canary Wharf, via text

0901: Right, while Gary Lineker does his best stare-down-the-camera-broodily introduction to BBC Two's coverage - UK users will be able to watch that on this website in just a mo - I can remind you that 606 is now open! Hurrah! You have a lot to live up to folks, some of the texts I've been getting this morning have been cracking. Keep the texts coming and get involved on 606... last one to do so is a rotten egg in a bacon bap.
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It's bad news for a Briton at the Open
0858: Graeme McDowell does indeed bogey the sixth and he's two over for the round, one over for the championship.

0857: Rocco Mediate can't take that chance to go clear at the top of the leaderboard with a birdie and has to settle for par at the eighth. Greg Norman echoes that at the fourth, while Jean van de Velde continues to go merrily about his business with a par at the 10th to maintain his blemish-free two-under round. He sits on one over.

"Is a stud muffin (0833) a form of cob? And can someone please explain 'daddy's sauce'... I am totally ignorant when it comes to wartime delicacies!"
The loose cannon, Edinburgh via text

0851: Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell continues to struggle and he's again gone a bit skew-whiff at the sixth - he will do well to stay level par for the championship here. Meanwhile, a glorious approach to the eighth gives Rocco Mediate a fine chance to go two under.

"Sam - anybody know if Monty lost his rag yesterday? I backed him at 5/1 to shout at a camerman."
Michael, Glasgow via text
(He was a picture of good grace and humour mate. Sorry - SL)

"I was hoping the weather would get a bit worse. Not to make the golf any more difficult but because my brother is camping out for the week whilst watching the championship. The thought of my him being stuck in a tent in this weather goes some way to making up for me not being there."
Dan, Tylers Green via text

US up
0840: A great tee-shot approach and six-foot putt brings Rocco im-Mediate-ly (sorry) back level with Norman with a birdie at the seventh. Adam Scott meanwhile, kicks off with a par at the first to stay one off the leaders.

US down
0835: Oops - Rocco Mediate drops his first shot of the day, a bogey at the sixth, to interrupt an otherwise steady opening to his second round.

That means Greg Norman is out in front on his own on one under - and it could have been even better for the Shark had he not just clipped a 10-foot birdie chance wide at the third just now. What a story it would be if he could hold on... Meanwhile, Robert Allenby makes it two holes, two bogeys.

"Is Garcia still dating Greg Norman's daughter? What odds on the old man finishing ahead of the young stud muffin!?"
Anon via text
(I believe Sergio and Morgan Norman have split, but wouldn't lay my life on it. Any readers of Heat or equivalent celebrity rag out there? And, by the way, 'stud muffin'?! SL)

US down
0833: England's Nick Dougherty has made a steady start to his second round with three straight pars and I wonder if, at five over, he might just still be in the mix. Kevin Stadler drops his first shot of the round at seven to go three over.

0826: Oh dear - the rain has returned and it is coming in sideways on the third green. Still, Greg Norman continues unaffected, sinking a 15-footer for par at the second and then drilling a marvellous tee shot down the third fairway.

"Having only recently found the delight that is reading your commentaries, I do feel as a young man of 40 I have missed out on so much... bacon cobs! Wag's on King's Road! Erm, you can keep your men in shorts sharing a bed, though...!"
Jay 'in a whole new world' in Colchester via text

0822: Not the greatest of starts for Australian Robert Allenby as he sinks a bogey on the first to leave Greg Norman and Rocco Mediate alone at the top of the leaderboard.

"It is 25 years today that I shot 28 on the front nine holes at Birkdale and I am going to celebrate it by walking the front 9 with my son."
Denis Durnian via text
(Blooming show off - SL)

"Bacon with rocket and tabasco? You sound like a wag on kings road... a "golf" bacon sarnie must be overly greasy, possibly undercooked and covered in cheap substitute ketchup!"
Tom via text

0816: Graeme McDowell pars the third to stay level par for the championship, while Rocco Mediate makes it five straight pars to maintain his share of the lead at one under.

0813: Right, a look elsewhere on the leaderboard and South Africa's Hennie Otto is making a few waves, birdieing the fourth and fifth to go two under for the day, seven over for the championship. Not doing quite as well are Ireland's Philip Walton, who is five over for the day, 12 over overall, or Steve Webster, whose four bogeys have left him 13 over.

"Dare we ask, will Stuart & Dan from Shrewsbury be watchin today's coverage in bed together & will they be in shorts? (see below)"
Mark at work via text

"Andy, a cob is a bread-based product or roll suitably shaped for the containment of bacon and accompanying condiments - often crusty. I prefer my bacon unsmoked with a light coat of ketchup in a pillowy-soft, flour-dusted bap."
Gavin, Mold via text
(Right, this will put the cat among the pigeons - I loathe ketchup in my bacon sarnie. Even daddy's sauce doesn't work for me. Bacon on its own, yes. Bacon with tabasco, yes. Bacon with tabasco and rocket salad, yes. Ketchup or Daddy's Sauce? Wrong! SL)

"With a lot of young names failing the test, is anyone else excited about the white shark lurking - he even said he plays more tennis than golf these days, you wouldn't catch faldo doing that! What a legend Norman is!"
Ashley, Welsh but Aussie for the day, via text

0806: Oh ho! A beauty from Greg Norman, who incidentally is being cheered on by wife Chris Evert from the galleries. The veteran Australian holes a dreamy 50-foot putt at the first for birdie and he moves alongside Rocco Mediate and Robert Allenby at the top of the leaderboard on one under.

It's bad news for a Briton at the Open
0759: Ben Dirs's pick for the tournament Jim Furyk registers a par first up, but Graeme McDowell is again in trouble, finding the light rough off the tee, and he goes on to bogey the second to drop to level par for the championship.

European Up
Van de Velde continues to impress as he knocks in his second birdie of the round and he's now one over.

"Anyone else pleased to see Monty hold it together y'day? Should make a for a doubly explosive tantrum today, come on Le sulk!"
Tom, bored of the F5 button already, via text

"I dont know if the players were more upset by the weather or the sight of my mate in shorts (see below). It must have at least been a contributing factor to Sandy's early exit."
Dan in Shrewsbury via text

0750: "Extraordinary revelations from Royal Birkdale. Bored of talking about the weather, I mentioned to my colleague Mark Orlovac that I had noticed he has a penchant for apples. When you're on an outside broadcast with someone 18 hours a day, there's not much that slips your attention.

"When I brought it up he told me he had brought three bags of the things with him. That's good. Us journalists don't always lend themselves to healthy eating, as pizza and beer at 2330 last night proved. But when he then told me that apples were the only fruit he could tolerate, I was incredulous. The man doesn't like strawberries. Or raspberries. Or pears. Or bananas. Melons are OK apparently. But what's not to like about strawberries? Especially now with our balmy summer weather... ah, er..."
Rob Hodgetts, BBC Sport at Royal Birkdale

0747: McDowell pulls his hole round well with a fine up and down and he gets started with a par. Pars are the order of the day, with Kevin Stadler knocking in his third of the round to stay two over, while Paul Lawrie and Angel Cabrera are also keeping this even. Not such good news for Mark O'Meara, who is two over for the day, or Michael Campbell, who has started with a bogey.

"Doug (see below) - what is a cob?!"
Andy, Paisley via text

0735: A third straight par for JvdV, while Mediate keeps things steady with a second four on the second. McDowell, however, may be in a spot of bother after a wayward second shot on the first...

"Advice - wearing shorts yesterday on the course to watch the golf? Not a good idea! Watching in bed today? Excellent idea!"
Stuart Thomas, Shrewsbury via text

"You have been broadcasting for over an hour and still no mention of bacon cobs and cups of coffee, are you all feeling ok?"
Doug via text

0726: "On the tee... Graeme McDowell!" I'm going to come out and say it - I love Ivor Robson. Anyway... McDowell makes a steady enough start and he has a good ol' crowd following him today. Super-stardom beckons...

0723: "Weather is currently dry but the sky is brooding. Looks like we could be in for a lashing a bit later. There's plenty of wind about, too. And scouring the official forecast at the course, there's no mention of sun until, well, Sunday... makes sense I suppose. Hope Sandy's all tucked up."
Rob Hodgetts, BBC Sport at Birkdale

"I hope Jean VdV wins it. Thoroughly nice bloke. Mad as a busload of monkeys, but nice all the same."
Craig, Prestwick via text

0719: A par to start for Mediate, with joint leader McDowell now finalising his pre-round preparations ahead of his 0725 tee-off. By the way, a hint for any of you reading this who would love to have your name 'up in lights', published on the BBC Sport website... now would be a pretty good time to text in. If it's even remotely interesting - and especially if it's funny - I'd say your chances of being published are darn good...

0712: Birdie-par-par (sounds like a 50s 'show' song doesn't it?!) for Van de Velde so far and he's the only man on the course with a birdie to his name today. American Kevin Stadler has kicked off with a par on the first to keep him two over, while England's Paul Waring and Northern Ireland's David Smail both bogeyed the opening hole.

"Yesterday was a bad day, there's no doubt about that. The wind and rain - and it was pretty chilly - made it one of the toughest day I've ever seen at the Open. I did suggest player Stableford rules but no-one listened...!"
Royal Birkdale course pro Brian Hodgkinson

US up
0705: Joint leader Rocco Mediate gets his second round started and, just like Van de Velde before him, punts a delicious iron shot straight down the middle.

"Graeme McDowell says he is a "completely different player" today compared to when he led the Open two years ago - and many are tipping him to become the first player ever to follow victory in the Scottish Open with the Open title. He certainly looked in top form and, arguably more importantly, good spirits yesterday..."
Vassos Alexander on BBC Radio 5 Live

It's bad news for a Briton at the Open
European Up
0653: Mixed fortunes for the opening trio - JvdV kicking off with a birdie to move up to two over and just three off the lead, Australian Andrew Tampion starts with a bogey to fall back to nine over and England's Steve Webster picks up where he left off yesterday with a double bogey to go 11 over. Ouch.

0641: A little weather update for you - conditions are a notable improvement from Thursday, though I would suggest it's not quite time to break out the Hawaiian shirts and factor 30 sun-block just yet - more a slightly thinner wind-cheater and maybe even just the one hat.

European Up
0633: Talking of Van de Velde - the people's favourite Frenchman-who-threw-away-the-Open-with-his-trousers-rolled-up gets day two under way with a beauty of an iron off the first. Here we go folks...

0625: Right - it's day two of the Open from Royal Birkdale and what do we know so far?

Well, for a start, Tiger or no Tiger, this championship has already had more than its fair share of intrigue and incident.

We started Thursday thinking any round below par would top the leaderboard by the end of the day and we were right - Rocco Mediate, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Robert Allenby are sitting pretty on top of the pile.

We've learned not to write off the veterans - Tom Watson, Greg Norman and even injury-hit Jean van de Velde are bang in the mix - while we've also learned not to bank on 'favourites' - Vijay Singh and Ernie Els are more off the pace than a three-legged donkey in the national.

We also know that Sandy Lyle may or may not be injured, he may or may not dislike the rain, he may or may not have unfairly deprived a more worthy competitor his place in the championship and he may or may not have dented his chances of captaining Europe in the Ryder Cup in future following his withdrawal after 10 holes yesterday.

And, finally, we now know not to take our annual leave at Royal Birkdale if we want blazing sun and sangria - the conditions have been worse than a Lyon family caravaning holiday in the depths of Clacton.

Did I miss anything? Get in touch via text on 81111 or, after 0900 BST, on 606.
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see also
Open day two photos
18 Jul 08 |  Golf

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