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Brian Harman has taken a formidable lead at the halfway stage of The Open.

The American eagled the par-5 18th to surge five shots clear with a flawless six-under par 65 at Royal Liverpool.

Tommy Fleetwood leads the chasing pack, but a whole host of big names missed the +3 cut mark on a challenging day on the Hoylake links.

Here’s some top stars who will be not here this weekend…

• Just Stop Oil protestors strike at The Open

• Harman the man to beat at Hoylake

Justin Thomas +11

It is all so desperate for Thomas right now. He is trying and trying, but actually getting worse. His second round 81 at LACC in the US Open had been his highest major score but that was broken here, with a quadruple bogey NINE on the 18th on Thursday resulting in an 82. Battling his game and his confidence levels, he admirably fought back with only pride on the line on Friday as he stayed at 11-over-par for the event.

Dustin Johnson +13 

Johnson threatened to match Thomas’ nightmare 82 before signing for an equally horrible 10-over 81 on Friday. He came in under the radar after finishing in the top 10 in his last two Opens before pitching up at Royal Liverpool, but this performance was why. 

Talor Gooch +7

The travails of Thomas have seen the noise for Talor Gooch to make Zach Johnson’s Ryder Cup team grow louder but the prolific LIV Golf winner could not extend his good form to the challenging Merseyside links. He controversially did not play in the US Open and his final chance to impress on the biggest stage has now gone.

Phil Mickelson +9

Mickelson’s surge to T2 at the Masters in April was an aberration in what can otherwise be considered a poor season. He missed the cut at the US Open and finished in a tie for 58th at the PGA Championship. Ten years on from winning the Claret Jug at Muirfield, he carded rounds of 77 and 74 for his major season to end in misery.  

Justin Rose +6

Rose was fancied by many to end England’s 31-year wait for an Open champion on the Wirral links but struggled in his marquee pairing with Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm. He is destined to play a big role at the Ryder Cup with such experience, but he has now missed his last three cuts after two 74s this week.  

Shane Lowry +6

Rather like Rose, Lowry was tipped to shine here at Hoylake, four years on from his victory at Royal Portrush. A master out of the bunkers, Lowry looked primed to negotiate a challenging links course, but it has just not happened for the Irishman this week. All the frustration came out with a classic club snap late on Friday.

Collin Morikawa +4 

Morikawa began this week telling reporters at Hoylake that it doesn’t matter whether this championship is called The Open or the “British Open” if you’re holding the Claret Jug. The 2021 Champion Golfer won’t even be making the weekend here, though, with two disappointing rounds of 73 ensuring his long drought since his moment in the sun at Royal St George’s continues.

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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