Woods sparkles with a 66 at Open

Tiger Woods in the hunt and loving it at The Open

The 42-year-old began the day on level-par for the tournament but took full advantage of flawless scoring conditions to collect six birdies from his first 14 holes.

It was the second straight year that No. 1 and No. 2 in the world missed the cut in a major, and Johnson became the first No. 1 player to miss the cut at the British Open since Luke Donald in 2011.

On a day when Woods electrified the gallery with a 66 that pulled the 14-major victor within four strokes of the lead, Spieth, with three majors already, showed again that he is the man to beat of the current generation.

The Englishman, who had only edged his way past the cut, sunk seven birdies to go within two shots of the leaders at four under.

Kevin Chappell is two shots further back on 7-under, Italy's Francesco Molinari is 6-under after a superb 65 and then Woods is among a group of seven players on 5-under, after a 5-under-par 66.

"I felt like I had something to prove to other people with last year's Open and to myself", Spieth said. "And on top of that, I made some longer putts", said Woods, looking for his major title since the 2008 US Open.

"It's going to be fun".

Spieth began the day one one-over after dropping four shots in his last four holes on Thursday, but started heading up the leaderboard with a stroke of magic on the third - chipping in from off the green for a birdie.

"I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th", he said.

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"Birdieing the first hole today got me up and running".

Justin Rose was about 18 feet away from going home Friday when he made the birdie putt on the 18th to make the cut on the number.

Golf Channel announcer Nick Faldo added: "I couldn't say which way, if [Tiger's] neck needs relaxing or stimulating, but that's the first time I have ever seen Tiger with KT tape very visible".

But it was the gains from Woods at four and six that had the Carnoustie crowds buzzing.

Woods only returned to competitive golf in November, but has recorded three top-five finishes on the PGA Tour this season. "If it's up here in Scotland and I'm living up here, I might just give it a run in the next few years". Fleetwood, the top player on the European Tour previous year, put together the best round of the week at Carnoustie with a 65.

The only time he was under par for his round was after a five-iron easily cleared the Spectacle bunkers on the par-5 14th and rolled onto the green to a front pin, leaving him an 18-foot eagle putt.

"If I just clean up those two holes and play them the way I'm supposed to play them, I think I'd probably have the best round in the afternoon wave". "I've got a chance at this, which is great". "I really, really did".

"There you go, " Johnson said.

Rose's round matched the lowest score shot in an Open Championship at Carnoustie, a traditionally hard course on Scotland's east coast.