|Graeme McDowell carries his ball on the 17th green during the second round of the British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes, England, July 20, 2012. (EDDIE KEOGH/Reuters)
LYTHAM ST. ANNES, ENGLAND - It's a strong-looking leaderboard at the 141st British Open.
Brandt Snedeker has earned his spot at the top with a record-tying 36-hole total of 130 strokes. Adam Scott has been playing well for a couple of years and there's Tiger Woods, looking for his 15th major.
Twenty-two-year-old Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark -- in fourth place after a 66 Friday -- is your compulsory darkhorse (he'll play Saturday with his idol, Woods) and then there are former major winners Paul Lawrie (1999 British Open) and Graeme McDowell (2010 U.S. Open) who last month came close to capturing that crown for a second time.
There's Matt Kuchar, who won the 2012 Players Championship, and Jason Dufner, a two-time winner this year who, for the fourth major in a row, is entering the weekend in the top 10.
A strong leaderboard, but McDowell, six back, likes his chances.
"There's no one on the leaderboard who scares me," the 32-year-old from Northern Ireland said after a 69 Friday. "The only person who scares me is myself. I've got to go out and control my emotions for a couple of days, I've got to go out and do my job for a couple of days and, hopefully, I'll come down this last fairway on Sunday with a chance to win the Claret Jug.
"I have 35 great holes to come before I have that opportunity on Sunday afternoon and I've got a lot of work to do.
"You can't really get too far ahead of yourself. You can't expect to win. You just can expect to go through the motions and give yourself the opportunities to win. Thankfully I can stand here and say I'm a fairly experienced player at this point in my career and I've been there a few times, and I know what it takes. It's a waiting game. It's patience. It's not getting too far ahead of yourself. It's going to be a late tee time (Saturday) afternoon."
McDowell said he was looking forward to the challenge. "It's a fun leaderboard and a lot of great players and a great golf course, and the fans have been fantastic out there, as well."
Fan favourite Phil Mickelson won't be around for the weekend, He missed the cut of three-over par by eight shots after a 78 Friday which included three double bogeys, two of them back-to-back on the 13th and 14th holes to seal his fate.