AAP Golf

Smith roars into British Open contention

By AAP Newswire

Australian golfer Cameron Smith has lived up to his promise and roared into British Open contention at Royal Portrush.

Smith vowed to find another gear after his first-round 70 and did just that with a spectacular seven-hole stretch either side of the turn on Friday.

Birdies on the seventh, eighth, 10th 12th and 13th holes sent the 25-year-old rocketing up the leaderboard into a share of fifth place at six under for the championship.

Smith's scorching five-under-par 66, ignited by a birdie on the opening hole, left him two strokes behind American clubhouse leader JB Holmes.

"A few putts went in today, which was nice. Yesterday felt like I played the same or maybe even a touch better with the longer stuff and not quite as many dropped," Smith said.

"I was just feeling really good with the putter so I just knew if I gave myself anything inside 20 foot, I'd have a decent look at it.

"That was kind of the game plan, not necessarily so attacking today. Just give myself a chance and some of them went in."

The world No.42 is bidding to become the first Australian to win The Open since fellow Queenslander Greg Norman at Royal St George's in 1993.

Smith was born less than a month after Norman won his second Open.

"It's always good to be in contention, whether it's a regular tournament or a major championship - an Open Championship definitely, one that I typically haven't played my greatest golf in," he said.

"It's just nice to get that feedback from everyone else that I'm playing decent golf again."

Smith is Australia's only remaining hope of ending Australia's 26-year Open title drought after Jason Day inexplicably collapsed after being right in the mix for most of his second round.

With three birdies in his first 11 holes, Day climbed into the top 10 on the leaderboard before capitulating.

The former world No.1 went bogey, double, bogey, bogey, bogey in a diabolical run from the 13th to 17th holes to plummet out of red figures to plus two for The Open.

He was in serious danger of missing the halfway cut, which was projected at one over.

Adam Scott and Marc Leishman crashed out of contention with disappointing first-round 78s.

Leishman's second-round 72 left him with no hope of making the halfway cut at eight over.

Rookie Jake McLeod can also pack his bags despite backing up his opening five-over 76 with an even-par 71 on Friday.

After a horror 83 on Thursday, fellow major championship debutant Dimi Papadatos returned a respectable 72 on Friday to finish at 13 over par.