Miguel Angel Jimenez leads the 2013 British Open heading into the weekend. He entered the day at three-under and, without picking up a single shot, managed the gain control of the lead as other players faded on a difficult day at the Open Championship.
Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson all posted two-under scores through two rounds, leaving them one stroke off the pace. Zach Johnson, who began Round 2 on top, is now two strokes behind Jimenez after a four-over 75.
Let's take a look at where everything stands after the second round of the season's third major.
Leaderboard After Round 2
For a complete list of scores after the first two rounds, visit the PGA'S official site.
Cut Line Information
After two days of difficult scoring conditions, the Open Championship cut line was eight-over. A total of 84 golfers will play the weekend, and a large number of them probably feel good about their chances, since nobody has been able to run away from the field.
Marquee names who didn't play well enough to make the cut include Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Vijay Singh, Luke Donald and Justin Rose. The course is providing players with very little margin for error. Those stars couldn't hit enough precision shots in the first two rounds.
Day 2 Recap
Woods started the second round three shots off the pace. Based on Thursday's round, when the conditions got more difficult as the day went on, conventional wisdom suggested he would be in for a more enjoyable trip around Muirfield with a morning tee time.
It didn't work out that way. The world's No. 1 golfer was once again forced to grind out pars. He finished with three birdies and three bogeys to post an even-par 71, but that score looked better and better as other players began to slip.
His playing partner Graeme McDowell matched that score to remain at four-over. A predicament he found himself in on the 11th really showcased the type of problems that can arise when a player doesn't handle any given hole perfectly (via Yahoo! Sports).
Another highlight from the second round came off the putter of Robert Garrigus. He struggled for most of the day, ending up four-over (+11 for the tournament), but he came up with a monster putt on the 15th hole that just keeping rolling until it found the bottom of the cup.
Moments like that were rare during the second day of action. It became clear early on that it wasn't going to be pretty at times. Golfers were either forced to accept the difficult nature of the course or risk some big numbers on the scorecard.
Phil Mickelson learned that the hard way on No. 16. He lined up a par putt from inside five feet and ended up walking away with a double-bogey. The course shows its teeth when one of the best players in the tournament needs three putts from that close (via CBS Sports).
Scoring conditions didn't get any easier as the day went on. Johnson, who started the day in the lead at five-under, was in survival mode for most of his round. Pulling away from the field wasn't even an option. He just wanted to get to the weekend in the mix, which he did at one-under.
One player who wasn't able to maintain his early momentum was Brandt Snedeker. He finished the first 27 holes with a very solid three-under score. But on the back nine, he had a triple-bogey, two double-bogeys and two bogeys. When the dust settled, he was five-over.
His reaction said it all:
So on a day where many players—both big names and unheralded contenders—were unable to tame Muirfield, those who were able to hold steady or make minor progress were the biggest winners.
Jimenez, the wily veteran, took full advantage. After posting a three-under 68 in the easier conditions yesterday, he took what the course gave him on Day 2. He had 14 pars to go along with two birdies and two bogeys.
His even-par round was enough to give him the lead at day's end. It also moved Woods to within one stroke of the lead, making his round even more impressive in retrospect.
Westwood and Stenson both pushed their way into the top five with under-par rounds. They, along with Johnson, are tied with Woods in second place and will go off late tomorrow.
Angel Cabrera (-1), Charl Schwartzel (+1), Adam Scott (+1), Bubba Watson (+1) and Mickelson (+1)— who would be in much better shape without the mistakes at No. 16—are among the other notable names in the mix.
There's also a large group of potential sleepers within range of the lead. It wouldn't be a surprise if one or two of them turn into contenders by the final holes on Sunday.
The tournament is available for the taking. The next two days will decide which player rises to the occasion to capture the major championship.