Harman charges with leading the British Open as McIlroy pursues elusive charm

That is expected to tax the remaining 76 players after the cut, which barely saved Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay, Ricky Fowler and Scottie Scheffler, the highest-ranked player in the world. But it still has fielded a host of stars, including former Grand Champions Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Colin Morikawa and Justin Thomas, who won the PGA Championship last year but missed three of four major cuts this year.

“Everyone has their waves, that kind of momentum and rides and rocky bottoms, whatever you want to call it,” said Thomas, whose best finish of the year was a tie for 65 at the PGA Championship in May. “I keep telling myself, ‘Here’s the way it is, I’m going to get out of it,’ and unfortunately I’ve surprised myself a few times with some bad runs.”

Instead, it was the lesser-known players who were much closer to Harman. Shubhankar Sharma, who had never finished higher than a tie for 51st, coolly put together two rounds of par or better to stand in third, just like Min Woo Lee. Former world number one Jason Day has been linked with them after shooting 67 on Friday.

Right in front of them was Sepp Straka, who also got 67.

Tommy Fleetwood, son of nearby Southport who started Friday with a share of the lead, finished level, putting him second and five shots behind Harman.

But the others who led at sunrise faded away. Emiliano Grillo made a double bogey on the second hole and a bogey on the third hole. A slim rebound collapsed on his back nine when he bogeyed the 16th and 17th holes, leaving him with 74 for the day and eight shots out of the lead. Christo Lamprecht, a 22-year-old amateur from Georgia Tech, bogeyed five of the first seven holes on Friday, propelling him so far down the leaderboard that he wasn’t quite certain during his Tour that he’d make the cut.