Tiger Woods grinds his way to a level-par 71 for the second day running, but he's not far back going into the weekend at the 147th Open Championship

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Woods In Open Contention At Carnoustie

If Tiger Woods does claim Major number 15 at Carnoustie on Sunday, it will be down in no small part to his ability to grind out a number when not at his imperious best.

For the second day running, the former world number one carded a level-par 71, which, at a little after 3.30pm, saw him down the field in a tie for 28th – but just six shots back.

“Right now I’m six back, and by day’s end, I think I’ll be more than that,” reflected the three-time Open champion. “It will be a pretty packed leaderboard, and I’m certainly right there in it.”

He could have left himself less to do over the weekend had it not been for a slow start in which he slipped to two-over through three holes, but he responded with back-to-back birdies at the 4th and 5th after some vintage approach play.

A bogey followed on the 9th, but his only blemish on the back nine came at the long par-3 16th, and he picked up shots at the 11th and 14th, before narrowly missing a fantastic opportunity at the last following a stunning approach to seven feet.

“I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit,” said Woods, who won his last Open in 2006. “The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rained, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice, and certainly birdies could be had out there.”

This is Woods’ first Open Championship since St Andrews in 2015, when rounds of 76 and 75 saw the American miss the cut.

Since then, and following major back surgery, there were doubts as to whether he would ever play again.

However, a run of impressive results this season have raised expectations, and although he arrived on the Angus coast as no more than an each-way contender, he’ll at least be competing for a Claret Jug on the weekend for the first time since Hoylake in 2014.