July 15, 2022 at 7:18 p.m.
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Tiger Woods bid a premature and emotional farewell to the British Open, which was perhaps his last at St. Andrews. Cameron Smith can only wonder if this 150th Open will mark his arrival as the undisputed elite player.
Australian Smith won The Players Championship this year and climbed to No. 3 in the world. With his 64 strokes, 8 under par, he is the leader for the first time in a major tournament, and is two strokes ahead of PGA Tour rookie American Cameron Young. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy stalks them with a difference of one stroke.
“Obviously it’s a good place,” Smith said. “I feel like I’ve been there a long time in the last two years, and things haven’t gone my way yet.”
Woods walked across the Swilcan Bridge while posing for the photo. He said it “seemed like the whole tournament had crammed in there” as he covered the final 325 meters (356 yards) after a long day of 75 shots that prevented him from making the cut.
American Woods has not withdrawn from any major championships or the British Open.
He just isn’t sure if his medically braced right leg or lower spinal problems will allow him to compete when the British Open returns to St. Andrews.
As Woods greeted thousands of fans packed into various venues in St. Andrews, Smith made birdie after birdie to take the lead.
When it looked like he couldn’t get any better, Smith hit an eagle from nearly 65 feet (20 meters) on the 14th hole.
Young overcame some mistakes and birdied for 69 shots to advance into contention with the group.
McIlroy received one of the loudest ovations for a shot, not a bye, when he birdied from 25 feet on the difficult Road Hole on the 17th hole.
He missed a birdie shot on the 18th. However, it was important for the player to back up his great start of 66 with a solid 2nd round 69.
McIlroy was tied with Viktor Hoyland, who failed to eagle from 139 yards (42 meters) because the ball missed the hole. He finished with 66 strokes after closing the par-4 hole with a birdie.
Smith has 131 shots, 13 under par, the lowest score through 36 holes at the Open at St. Andrews.