Ian Poulter took aim at the media after his third round 70 at The Open on Saturday, saying he has been getting plenty of support from the crowd at St Andrews.

The Englishman received a frosty reception from some at the famous course when he teed off on Thursday following his defection to LIV Golf, though he said he only heard cheers.

Poulter seemed to receive more favourable crowd reactions on Saturday as he moved to five under heading into the final round in Fife.

When asked about getting a better from the huge crowds after his round, a spiky Poulter replied during a news conference: "Are we still talking about it? Did you hear one bad comment?

"It's amazing how we still talk about one person that's 100 yards down the first [hole], where there's conveniently a microphone positioned halfway down the stand and some young guy says 'boo', and it comes over on the TV. And you all assume I'm being booed on the course.

"Paul Casey [another LIV Golf competitor] walked 17 holes on day one... And the 17 holes he walked, there was not one comment. There was not one boo. If you guys continue to write that there are people and there's negative comments and there's boos, then unfortunately that's not a true reflection of exactly what happened.

"It would be really nice if people would actually write the truth, that we're getting quite a lot of support out there on the golf course because it would just be nice. It would be a fair reflection of actually what's happening, rather than this continual press of 'let's lead down the path of players being booed who have joined the LIV tour.'"

Poulter says nothing will stop him from enjoying what he says will be his last Open at such an iconic venue.

"This is my fifth Open at St Andrews. It will be my last Open at St Andrews," he told reporters. "I've got my whole family here watching. So I'm here to enjoy myself.

"The reception I've had has been remarkable, to be honest. I've enjoyed every part of it. It's been great not to read any rubbish in the press this week, which has been unusual for me to not read it.

"I've deliberately not read it, but just listening to some of the questioning is quite funny."

Tommy Fleetwood is hoping his strong finish to Saturday's round has put him in the mix to challenge for The Open Championship.

Fleetwood made gains at the 14th, 15th and 18th holes to sign for a 66 and get to nine under at St Andrews.

It put him among the chasing pack on a day when conditions on the Fife coast were conducive to low scoring.

And Fleetwood, whose best finish at golf's oldest major was the runner-up spot in 2019, is optimistic he will be among the contenders on Sunday.

"It felt important," he said of his birdie at the last. "I birdied 15, parred 17 and birdied 18, but they all felt really important just being in the position we're in.

"We just can't afford to be dropping back too much and giving away too many chances at this point when you know the leaders are a long way ahead of you and you're trying to catch up.

"I'd have taken it [a 66] at the start of the day, that's for sure. I've just got to sit back and wait and see where we end up.

"It will be nice teeing off [on Sunday] feeling like we have a chance and see if we can get some momentum going on the front nine.

"It would be very cool and very special to be able to have a go again like down the stretch on a Sunday at The Open.

"I'll just wait and see. It's not in my hands. We'll ee what those guys do and if they get too far ahead, I'll be doing my best anyway, but it will be nice to have a chance, that's for sure."

Viktor Hovland sat at the summit through seven holes, the Norwegian getting to 14 under after starting the day on 10 under.

Playing partner Rory McIlroy was two shots back, level with overnight leader Cameron Smith and Cameron Young.

The American trio of Dustin Johnson, Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay were 10 under.

Kevin Kisner took advantage of warm and still conditions at St Andrews to surge up the Open Championship leaderboard, as low-scoring at St Andrews looked set to be order of the day.

American Kisner needed two birdies in his final three holes on Friday to reach level par, the cut mark, and he capitalised on an early tee time on day three to card nine birdies in a seven-under 65, moving at least briefly into the higher reaches of the leaderboard.

American Trey Mullinax and Italian Francesco Molinari also went low with six-under 66s, after both began on level par, while South African Dean Burmester had a 67 to reach five under through 54 holes.

Bryson DeChambeau was also surging into contention, reaching six under for his round through 13 holes, helped by an eagle at the ninth.

That put him alongside Kisner on seven under for the tournament, with Tommy Fleetwood joining them after picking up four shots through his first six holes.

Kisner, 38, proudly held the clubhouse lead and told Golf Channel the conditions had been ripe for going low.

"It was very benign earlier, hole locations a little more accessible and not playing as much wind as we've had the last two days, with it being pretty warm too," Kisner said.

"So the ball was going pretty far, and it felt like you were aiming right at the flag for the first time all week."

The afternoon forecast was for slightly stronger winds, with the possibility of showers, but the Old Course was giving the players great scoring opportunities and that looked set to continue, even if Kisner hoped a storm would brew up.

"I hope the winds blows like hell, and they can all shoot over par and I have a chance tomorrow, but I think there's a lot of birdies out there," Kisner said.

"The guys are really good golfers. Hopefully, they don't get too far away, and I can still have a chance."

Australian Cameron Smith held the lead through 36 holes on 13 under par, putting him two ahead of American Cameron Young, with Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Norway's Viktor Hovland one back on 10 under.

Jon Rahm has said that he hopes Tiger Woods will carry on playing, after the American legend failed to make the cut after the second round at the Open at St Andrews.

Woods followed up his first round score of six over par with a second day three over to finish at nine over, with the cut line at par.

There were positive signs early on with a birdie on the third hole, but two bogeys in the following three holes and a double-bogey on the 16th eliminated any hopes of making it to the third round.

He was visibly emotional on the 18th hole, as he arrived to a rapturous reception from the gallery. 

The 15-time major winner alluded to the fact that he may never play in another Open at St Andrews, but Rahm remained hopeful that he would be seen back at the 'home of golf'.

Rahm told reporters: "From what I heard, it will be in 2030, which is eight years from now, which is probably a few years too long. I wouldn't be surprised if he makes the effort just to play and do a proper good-bye.

"I'm hoping this is not Tiger's last. I'm hoping somehow he can get healthier and be back. Obviously he's done amazing things here and amazing things everywhere in the world.

"You can tell he's in pain. I know he puts a front out there and he tries to walk normal, but you can tell in certain moments going down some of the hills. You can tell he's suffering.

"So hopefully they can – not fully fix it, I don't know if they'll be able to, but minimise it and have a normal life. As normal life as Tiger Woods can have obviously."

Rory McIlroy knows he has "got the game" to be the man who lifts the Claret Jug at the 150th Open Championship on Sunday.

The Northern Irishman carded a second-round 68 at Andrews to sit three shots behind leader Cameron Smith. 

McIlroy has not added to his major haul of four since 2014, when he was crowned Champion Golfer of the Year and won the US PGA Championship.

But he is confident he can change that on the Fife coast this weekend.

"I know I've got the game. That's all I need," he said. "I just need to go out and play my game and play my golf over the next two days and that's all I can do.

"Cam Smith goes out and shoots another two rounds like he did the first two days, I'm going to have a really hard time to win the tournament.

"I've just got to go out and do the best I can and worry about myself and hopefully that's good enough."

It was a day of low scoring at the home of golf, where Smith shot a blemish-free 64 to rise to the summit.

Australian compatriot Adam Scott also took advantage to sign for a 65, with McIlroy acknowledging it was important to be aggressive.

"It was one of those, you needed to go out and make birdies," he explained.

"It wasn't like you could be defensive at all. You had to go out and play well and make birdies because everyone was doing that.

"I just tried to play a little bit more on the front foot and be a little more aggressive."

But not everyone in the field managed to make the conditions count in their favour, with Tiger Woods labouring to a 75 as he missed the cut.

Afterwards, the 15-time major winner conceded he may never play an Open at St Andrews again, but Woods was heartened by the response he got from fans and his fellow professionals.

McIlroy was just starting his round and walking down the first when Woods was heading up the 18th to rapturous applause, with the two acknowledging each other.

"I've gotten pretty close to Tiger over these last few years," said McIlroy. "Especially after the accident, I think we've all sort of rallied around him down there in Jupiter and we all want to see him do well.

"He was our hero growing up, even though I'm maybe a touch older than some of the other guys, but we want to see him do well, we want to see him still out there competing.

"This week was obviously a tough week for him, but we're all behind him, we're all pulling for him."

Cameron Smith holds the 36-hole lead at the 150th Open Championship after a day on which Tiger Woods likely waved a fond farewell to St Andrews.

A stellar 64 from Smith handed the Australian a two-shot lead on 13 under at the halfway point, with Cameron Young his nearest rival, while the likes of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Scottie Scheffler are firmly in the mix.

But 15-time major winner Woods, who has his name etched onto the Claret Jug three times, missed the cut following an untidy 75, conceding afterwards that he would probably not be returning when the home of golf next hosts the sport's oldest major.

Woods was met with rapturous applause as he made the walk down the 18th fairway, with McIlroy tipping his hat to the American as he headed down the first at the start of his round of 68, which left the 2014 winner three shots behind, level with Viktor Hovland.

After early rain on the Fife coast, the conditions were conducive to low scoring and Smith was one of a host of players to take advantage, with compatriot Adam Scott's 65 moving him to seven under and Tyrrell Hatton's 66 leaving him one better off.

Johnson got to nine under with a 67, one ahead of world number one Scheffler.

Other big names to join Woods in missing the cut were reigning champion Collin Morikawa, six-time major winner Phil Mickelson and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka.

SHOT OF THE DAY

Smith headed to the par-five 14th on the back of three consecutive pars and looking for something to ignite his back nine to match the fireworks of the front nine.

And my word did he find it. His approach shot found the green but was a long way from the hole, leaving him with surely a lag putt just to put it close enough for a birdie.

But that was never going to be enough for the on-form Smith, who rolled it all the way up to the hole and in the cup for a spectacular eagle. 

PLAYER OF THE DAY

Smith's 64 was Friday's lowest round on a day when his scorecard remained blemish-free.

The 28-year-old's putter stayed hot as he made six birdies and an eagle en route to a score that puts him in firm contention for a maiden major.

CHIPPING IN

Tiger Woods: "This is my favourite golf course. I fell in love with it back in 1995 and it hasn't changed. I just love how it can be played in so many different ways."

Mark Calcavecchia: "Forget about my golf. It wouldn't have mattered if I shot a pair of 75s or a pair of 85s, which I nearly did. It was about playing one more, my last one here at the home of golf, which is really cool to be able to end it here."

Cameron Smith: "I think there's going to be a few more gnarly pins, and I think being smart out there is definitely going to be the key to staying at the top of the leaderboard."

A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME

- Cameron Smith's combined score of 131 is a record after 36 holes in an Open at St Andrews.

- All four past champions at St Andrews missed the cut: Zach Johnson (2015), Louis Oosthuizen (2010), Tiger Woods (2000, 2005) and John Daly (1995).

- From his 22 appearances at The Open, this was only the fourth time Woods failed to make the cut.

Cameron Smith set a 36-hole St Andrews Open Championship record but predicts a "brutal" test in the third round.

The Australian started Friday three shots back of first-round leader Cameron Young but held the clubhouse lead after reaching 13-under for the tournament thanks to blemish-free second-round 64.

Smith opened with three birdies before adding another trio to go six-under through the first 10 holes.

The Players Championship victor managed pars on his next three holes, before sinking a remarkable long-range putt to eagle the 14th.

Rory McIlroy and Paul Broadhurst's Old Course low-round Open record of 63 appeared in danger, but Smith closed with four pars to finish eight-under for the second round.

Smith still managed to set the 36-hole record at a St Andrews Open, having taken just 131 strokes across his first two rounds, with 132 having been achieved on three occasions before Friday.

While Smith will head into the weekend leading the final major of the year, he expects a tough challenge with a later tee time on Saturday.

"I think being off late again tomorrow afternoon it's obviously going to be a bit firmer, more like the first day, I would say," he told reporters.

"So I would say it's going to be pretty brutal out there. I think there's going to be a few more gnarly pins, and I think being smart is definitely going to be the key to staying at the top of the leaderboard."

Smith remains in search of a major maiden win, with his best finish coming at The Masters in a tie for second in 2020, and believes his patience will again be key with tricky conditions and slow play on the course.

"I think just being patient. I obviously got off to a really hot start and it's very easy to just keep going, getting on the front foot and maybe trying to hit some shots that are a little bit too aggressive," he added.

"But I just stayed patient and holed some really nice putts. I don't think we can really do anything about [the slow play], to be honest, the way the course is set up.

"I'm a really impatient person. Everyone that knows me hates me for it. So I have to try my best out there to be really patient, with the pace of play, and with the golf course as well."

Smith is no stranger to being in contention at a major, having finished in the top five on five occasions across The Masters, U.S. Open, US PGA Championship and The Open.

While appreciating the historic occasion of the 150th Open, Smith insists he will not get caught up in the moment as he prioritises treating every round the same.

"It's obviously a really good spot to be in. I feel like I've been in this spot a lot over the past couple of years, and things just haven't quite gone my way yet," he continued.

"But like I said before, I've just got to be really patient over the weekend. I think the golf course is going to get a lot harder and a lot faster. So just be patient and make good putts.

"I think I've always done a pretty good job of just treating every round the same. I think it's going to be a really cool experience being out there. It has been this whole week.

"But I've always done a really good job of just doing the same thing, going through the same process every morning, making sure I feel the same – get on the range, hit the same shots. It's very boring, but it does the trick."

Emily Mayne enjoyed an excellent second day at the IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championships in the United States of America on Thursday.

Maybe carded a three-under-par 69 to move from 40th into a tie for eighth place and just two shots off the lead.  The Jamaican teen has an overall score of 141 after shooting a 72 in the opening round.

Kelli Ann Strand of the USA was atop the leaderboard with scores of 71 and 68 for an overall score of 139.

Aman Dhiman is the other Jamaican at the championships.  He is also competing in the 15-18 age group. He scored nine over par 81 and is tied at 158th at the end of the second round with a total score of 160.

Japan’s Taisha Motto leads with an overall score of 10 under par 134 (68, 66) after two rounds.

The championship, held at the Torrey Pines - South Golf Course in California, ends on Friday.

Both golfers have had a busy season. Recently, they competed at the 34th Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships in Puerto Rico where Mayne topped the Under 18 age group - a first for any Jamaican female golfer.

As soon as they return from the current championships they will head off to the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships (for seniors) in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

An emotional Tiger Woods conceded he is unlikely to play The Open at St Andrews again after missing the cut at the 150th edition of golf's oldest major on Friday.

The 15-time major winner carded a second-round 75 to sit nine over par, well short of the projected cut mark at the home of golf.

Woods was desperate to compete in this landmark tournament after his career was nearly ended by a car crash in February last year, and he admitted this was probably his final outing at an Open on the famous links.

It was fitting, then, that the 46-year-old – who has twice lifted the Claret Jug at the Fife course – was given a stunning ovation as he concluded his round, which left him with tears in his eyes.

 

"It's very emotional for me. I've been coming here since 1995... I think the next one comes around in what, 2030? I don't know if I will be physically able to play by then," he said.

"So to me it felt like this might have been my last British Open here at St Andrews. And the fans, the ovation and the warmth, it was an unbelievable feeling.

"I understand what Jack [Nicklaus] and Arnold [Palmer] had gone through in the past. I was kind of feeling that way there at the end – just the collective warmth and understanding. They understand what golf's all about and what it takes to be an Open champion.

"I've been lucky enough and fortunate enough to have won this twice here, and it felt very emotional.

"I just don't know what my health is going to be like. And I feel like I will be able to play future British Opens, but I don't know if I'll be able to play that long enough that when it comes back around here, will I still be playing?"

Woods admitted he was choked up by the response of the fans and his fellow professionals, including Rory McIlroy.

"As I walked further along the fairway, I saw Rory right there," he said. "He gave me the tip of the cap.

"It was a pretty cool, the nods I was getting from guys as they were going out and I was coming in, just the respect, that was pretty neat. And from a players' fraternity level, it's neat to see that and feel that.

"And then as I got closer to the green, more into the hole, the ovation got louder and you could feel the warmth and you could feel the people from both sides. It felt like the whole tournament was right there.

"I had a few tears. I'm not one who gets very teary-eyed very often about anything. 

"I put my heart and soul into this event over the years and I think the people have appreciated my play in the event. I've won it three times.

"Life moves on and I think that's what people understand, and they knew my circumstances this year, of just playing, period.

"I was very lucky to have had a great team around me to get me to where I was physically able to play three times this year and very thankful to all of them for getting me to this spot."

Scottie Scheffler hailed Tiger Woods' resilience despite the golf great enduring an Open Championship to forget at St Andrews.

Woods carded a disappointing,six-over par 78 in his first round on Thursday, leaving himself with plenty to do to make the weekend.

The 15-time major winner could not muster up a good enough second round, however, with his 75 meaning he missed the cut at nine over. He appeared to be wiping away tears as he received a huge ovation from the crowd on his way to the 18th hole on what could be his last professional visit to the home of golf.

Scheffler had no such issues as the 2022 Masters champion carded 68, meaning he was one shot off the lead when he headed to the clubhouse.

When it was put to Scheffler that Woods might well have made his final Open appearance at St Andrews, the world number one was quick to stress the resilience the 46-year-old has shown across his career, not least to return to top-level golf after sustaining serious injuries in a car crash in February 2021.

Scheffler told reporters: "I don't know if this will be Tiger's last one here. He may have spoken about it a bit.

"But he's a pretty resilient guy and he loves to compete. We'll see what he has in store for us the next few years.

"Any time you can see that guy out on the golf course, especially the Old Course, it's really special. For us as players, to have him around is pretty cool.

"When he got in that car wreck, didn't know if we'd have him back. Just to have him out here playing golf is pretty special for all of us."

Woods was the last player to win both the Masters and The Open in the same year – back in 2005 – though Scheffler is well in the hunt to achieve that feat in 2022.

"No, to be honest with you, I'm just here trying to do my best and put myself in position," the 26-year-old replied when asked if he had thought about such an achievement.

"Thinking about prior wins isn't going to help me play good this week. Just trying to stay in the moment and hit some good shots."

That composure and mentality is something Scheffler is planning to take into his final two rounds.

"For me, just coming in like I usually do and try to do my best, not overthink things and focus on the task at hand," he said.

Dustin Johnson has no plans to revisit memories of his 2015 St Andrews collapse after taking the lead at the 150th Open Championship.

The former world number one shot a second-round 67 to move to nine under and top of the leaderboard.

Johnson conceded he was unlikely to remain at the summit come the end of the day, but he will be out to avoid a repeat of his weekend slump at the home of golf seven years ago.

Back then, the American held the 36-hole lead but carded consecutive 75s to fall well short, and he was not keen to dig that out of the memory bank following Friday's fine showing.

"To be honest, I don't even remember the third round from seven years ago," he said. "I've played a lot of golf since then, and that was a long time ago.

"Obviously any time playing in a major and playing golf courses, you learn stuff about yourself, but that was quite a while ago.

"I don't want to go back to it, obviously. It wasn't very good."

Johnson is now waiting to see how the weather will impact his strategy for the weekend as he eyes a third major and first Open title.

"Once I see what the wind direction is and we get the pins later, we kind of go through and map out a game plan," he said.

"It's all based on the wind how you attack the golf course and kind of where you hit it and where you want to hit it.

"I feel like I'm swinging well. Obviously, it's just avoiding the bunkers as much as possible. It's really hard not to hit it in one of the bunkers. I've been in three so far, and two of them I had to chip out sideways, and the other one I had a shot.

"If I can just keep out of the bunkers and just keep playing kind of smart golf where, when I have a good number and a club that I can get it close to the hole, I can be aggressive. But when not, just kind of hit it to 30, 40 feet and try to two-putt."

World number one Scottie Scheffler's 68 kept him within one of the lead, while Tyrrell Hatton's 66 also had him at eight under.

Adam Scott, playing alongside Johnson, signed for a 65 to seven under, with Rory McIlroy a further stroke back ahead of his 14:59 BST (local time) tee-off.

After early rain, conditions have been proving favourable for low scoring, but Tiger Woods was primed to miss the cut after moving to seven over through 15 holes on Friday.

Collin Morikawa knows it will be difficult to surpass the reception Rory McIlroy received at St Andrews after the world number two's fantastic start to the 150th Open Championship.

McIlroy will head into day two of the tournament just two shots behind leader Cameron Young after carding an excellent round of 66, in which he shot only one bogey.

The Northern Irishman won the Open in 2014, but missed out on the chance to defend his title at St Andrews a year later because of an ankle injury.

Yet he so far looks good to compete for winning his first major in eight years, and his fifth overall, with the 33-year-old receiving plenty of support from the crowd in Scotland.

When asked about the crowd reaction to McIlroy, Morikawa told reporters: "You hear your specks of Collin and specks of Xander, but it's hard to beat Rory."

McIlroy has been seen as something of a leader when it comes to speaking out against the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which has caused a divide across golf, with several elite players choosing to join the Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway competition.

Morikawa has also stood by the PGA Tour, though he is pleased to have McIlroy leading the charge.

He said: "I think you know all the guys that have spoke about the PGA Tour. We've all kind of said what we believe. Look, we all support each other.

"That's the biggest thing is like we're all here to play in the PGA Tour and do what we do."

Morikawa and McIlroy played together on the Sunday of the Masters, when the latter shot eight under to make a late charge only to come up short to world number one Scottie Scheffler.

McIlroy has enjoyed top-10 finishes in each of the previous three majors this season, and Morikawa believes he is competing against a player close to the top of their game. 

Morikawa explained: "I mean, Augusta was near flawless. I'm trying to remember if he made even a bogey, I don't think he did.

"Today was a really solid round of golf. Didn't make any errors, hit it in the right spots.

"Overall, it was awesome. That's what I need the next three days if I want to get myself in the tournament."

Morikawa himself could only manage to shoot par for the day, meaning he has much work to do if he plans on retaining his title.

Disappointed with his performance, Morikawa remarked: "I just gave too many shots away on the greens, and it sucks. Sometimes you have those days.

"Today was just hit some good drives and hit a bad second shot, hit some good second shots, hit a bad putt. Never got any momentum going."

"This place is very special, for a lot of reasons. There's so much thinking to this golf course that it's great.

"I think that fits into what I like to do, but at the same time, you've got to execute. And if you don't execute, it's only a game plan."

Tiger Woods bemoaned his lack of luck and failures with the putter after carding an error-strewn first-round 78 at the 150th Open Championship.

Woods, who missed the U.S. Open, spoke glowingly of the Old Course in the build-up to the season's final major at St Andrews, where he has won two of his three Claret Jugs, but the 46-year-old came unstuck despite favourable conditions on Thursday.

Cameron Young shot the lowest round of the day with his eight-under 64, while Rory McIlroy is two shots back after finishing on six-under.

Yet Woods struggled with the pace of the greens and never recovered from a double-bogey on the first hole, where he found the burn protecting the green after his tee shot stuck in a fairway divot.

The 15-time major winner was honest in his appraisal after his round, conceding his short game left much to be desired.

"It was probably highest score I could have shot. I didn't get off to a great start," he told reporters. 

"I hit a good tee shot down one, ended up right in the middle of a fresh divot and I hit a good shot, wind gusts hit it and ended up in the burn, and start off with a six.

"I think I had maybe four or five three-putts today. I just wasn't very good on the greens and every putt I left short.

"I struggled with hitting the putts hard enough. They looked faster than what they were putting, and I struggled with it. Here you really don't have as much control. They were quick.

"The greens were very firm but slow and it's an interesting combo, we weren't exactly speed demons out there either.

"The whole round took a long time, and we were getting waved up. And it was a long, slow day."

Indeed, Woods' round took more than six hours alongside Max Homa and U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, with the trio teeing off at 14:59 BST and finishing at 21:07.

While Woods reiterated his disappointment with his putting, he insists that the element of luck has balanced out throughout his career.

"In a round sometimes it just goes that way. It just goes one way and it never seems to come back, no matter how hard you fight," he added.

"Then I compounded problems, as I said, with my bad speed on the greens. I hit the ball in the correct spots a couple times, left myself some good lag putts, the correct angles and I messed those up.

"I think just the total score [was a disappointment]. It feels like I didn't really hit it that bad. Yes, I did have bad speed on the greens, yes.

"But I didn't really feel like I hit it that bad but I ended up in bad spots, or just had some weird things happen and that's just the way it goes. Links is like that and this golf course is like that."

Despite a frustrating return to the home of golf, Woods enjoyed playing at St Andrews once more, where he says the walk was less difficult than at the other two majors he has played this year.

"It was a lot easier today, physically, than it has been the other two events, for sure," said Woods, who almost saw his career end after suffering multiple leg injuries in a car crash in February 2021.

"All things considered, where I've been, I was hoping I could play this event this year. Looking at it at the beginning of the year, end of last year when I was rehabbing, trying to see if I could do it, but somehow I was able to play two of the major championships in between then and now, which was great.

"But this was always on the calendar to hopefully be well enough to play it and I am, I just didn't do a very good job of it!"

Woods faces an uphill task to make the cut for the weekend in what could be his final St Andrews appearance at The Open, but he knows what will be required on Friday.

"Looks like I'm going to have to shoot 66 tomorrow to have a chance," he continued. "So obviously it has been done. Guys did it today.

"That's my responsibility tomorrow is to go ahead and do it, I need to do it."

Cameron Young's blemish-free 64 led the way after the first round of the 150th Open Championship, with Rory McIlroy firmly in contention at St Andrews.

Tournament debutant Young, who finished in a tie for third at this year's US PGA Championship, made the turn in 31 and picked up three more strokes on the way in to close on eight under.

McIlroy, who was defending champion but missed out through injury the last time the home of golf hosted this event in 2015, birdied the 18th to sign for a 66.

Tiger Woods faces a struggle to make the cut after the 15-time major winner carded an error-strewn 78 that included a double-bogey six at the first.

Claret Jug holder Collin Morikawa is eight shots off the pace after an even-par 72, while world number one Scottie Scheffler looms large at four under.

A host of putative contenders failed to keep pace with the leading pack, with Jon Rahm one over alongside Brooks Koepka, while Justin Thomas was one stroke better off.

It was Paul Lawrie who had the honour of getting this landmark edition of golf's oldest major under way, and the Scot finished his round with an eagle to post a 74.

There was huge disappointment for 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, who was forced to withdraw after suffering a back injury.

SHOT OF THE DAY

There will be no shortage of lengthy eagle putts on offer this week, with several of the greens on the many par fours reachable off the tee.

Ian Poulter had one such opportunity on the ninth, his drive leaving him with a putt of around 160 feet which he duly sunk.

That miraculous shot will have helped to soothe the Englishman's pain at being booed on the first tee, a reaction to his decision to join LIV Golf – though he claimed not to hear any jeers.

PLAYER OF THE DAY

English amateur Barclay Brown put himself in some esteemed company at the top end of the leaderboard following a stellar 68.

The 21-year-old, who qualified with a three-stroke win at Hollinwell late last month, handled the occasion brilliantly as he sunk five birdies and just one bogey.

Brown finished four strokes better off than the next best amateurs, with Sam Bairstow and Keita Nakajima both even par.

CHIPPING IN

Paul Lawrie: "I was surprised how many people were there to be honest. I wasn't expecting that. I thought there would be a few, but the stand on the right was pretty full. Nice to see all the people. You always get great support here." 

Barclay Brown: "I was unbelievably nervous at the start. And then once I got through the first couple of holes, yeah, it was nice to kind of calm down a little bit and hit some good shots and just get into it."

Scottie Scheffler: "There's a few holes where I don't know if it's possible to even hit the fairway, like if you're going to take the bunkers out of play, you can't hit the fairway."

A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME

- Since 1939, every winner at St Andrews has been within three shots of the lead after the first round.

- Tiger Woods' round took more than six hours, with the three-time Open winner teeing off in a group at 14:59 BST (local time) and taking his final shot of the day at 21:07.

- England's Matt Ford made his Open Championship debut at the age of 44 and signed for a 71.

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