Terrible conditions that saw strong winds and persistent rain mean just four players broke par from the early/late side of the draw, while 22 golfers are in the red from the late/early side

Terrible conditions Friday afternoon saw 15mph winds and spells of heavy rain, which led to just four players from the afternoon groups finishing 36 holes under par at The Open.

Among them were Patrick Reed (-2), Ben An (-2), Rickie Fowler (-1) and Rory McIlroy (-2), all of whom are arguably too far behind 36 hole leader Phil Mickelson (-10) to go on and lift the Claret Jug.

It was a different story for the late/early players, with the likes of Mickelson, Henrik Stenson and Soren Kjeldsen enjoing a calm and sunny opening round, and a far less wet and windy second 18.

Among those to really suffer in the afternoon were the world’s top five players.

World number one Jason Day reached the turn at three-under-par, but as the wind picked up and the rain started to fall harder he struggled home in two-over par to finish his opening 36 holes at one-over.

US Open champion Dustin Johnson will rue two double bogeys at the 7th and 11th, which mean despite slightly easier conditions, he still sits eight behind the leader.

World number three Jordan Spieth was another man left rueing the terrible conditions Friday afternoon, scraping in on the cut line at four-over after a round of 75 that included four bogeys and a double.

It was a little better for fan favourite Rory McIlroy, who took just seven putts through the first eight holes to leave the famous Postage Stamp 8th at three-under for the day and five-under for the tournament, just five back from the lead.

However, as the conditions toughened the Northern Irishman collected four bogeys in his next five holes and drifted further and further back.

It was a similar story for his playing partner Bubba Watson, who made a great six-footer at the last to make the cut on the mark, after dropping four shots in four holes between 10-13.

Not all the big names scraped in though, with Ernie Els, Shane Lowry, Jimmy Walker, Billy Horschel, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Louis Oosthuizen among those to get the halfway axe.