Gullane - Lee Westwood made the biggest early move as the second round of the British Open got underway at sun-drenched Muirfield on Friday.
The English former world number one birdied three of the first five holes to get to two under for the tournament, three behind first round leader Zach Johnson, who had a mid-afternoon tee-time.
He then sunk a 15-footer for birdie at the eighth to move to within two shots off the lead.
Northern Ireland's 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke also briefly climbed onto the leaderboard with three straight birdies from the second, but he came to grief at the sixth, taking two to get out of a pot bunker en route to a quadruple bogey eight.
Tournament favourite Tiger Woods, handily placed after an opening 69, made a solid start with three pars, followed by a birdie at the third, where he sunk a 12-footer.
He then promptly three-putted the par-three fourth to drop back to two over before narrowly missing a monster putt for eagle at the next.
Veteran fellow American and close friend Mark O'Meara, equal second overnight on 67, fell away with a front nine of four over 40.
Moving the other way was 19-year-old Jordan Spieth, who only qualified last Sunday by winning the John Deere Classic in Illnois in a play-off.
Spieth had a 69 on Thursday, but, after a bogey at eight, he had birdies at the ninth and 11th to get to three under, level with Westwood and two off the lead.
Indian qualifier Shiv Kapur, who had six birdies in the first seven holes on Thursday before coming in with a 68, opened with a bogey this time.
"The course is tough and sometimes the ball rolls your way and you ride your luck. That's what happened yesterday," he said.
"It's a different wind direction today but the Open shouldn't be easy. I just need to get it on the fairway and make a few putts. If I can manage to keep a smile on my face I will be playing all right."
Luke Donald, who had a nightmare round of 80 on Thursday started to claw his way back with birdies at the first and third, while Masters champion Adam Scott dropped one at the fourth to fall over par.
Phil Mickelson (69), Justin Rose (75) and defending champion Ernie Els (74) all had afternoon tee-times as did Rory McIlroy, who was looking to bounce back after a crippling opening round of 79.
The 24-yarold Ulsterman vowed to try and loosen up his game in a bid to throw off the shackles that have held him down all year after he changed his equipment provider.
"I want to try to be here for the weekend. But the thing that I need to do tomorrow(Saturday) is just go out there and freewheel it and try and make birdies and try and play with that little bit of whatever it is I have usually," he said.
With the sun once more shining brightly on the famed East Lothian course, which is holding The Open for the 16th time, conditions were once again fast and furious.
The pace of the sun-baked greens and tricky pin first round placings in particular brought a salvo of criticisms from some players, but some good early scoring Friday, following overnight hand-watering of the surfaces, indicated that the going might be slightly easier this time around.
"The greens are expected to pick up pace during the day,
but the dramatic increases of yesterday are not anticipated," the
R&A said in a press release.