After another strong round, Rory McIlroy will enter weekend play at the British Open with a four-stroke lead.
The golfer from Northern Ireland overcame an early bogey on Friday to finish with a second consecutive six-under-par 66 to reach 12 under for the tournament.
"I felt like I've been putting really well the last couple of days," he said on ESPN's broadcast from Royal Liverpool. "Try to keep it going through the weekend."
Dustin Johnson picked up two strokes on the final two holes to grab second place at eight under. A small group including Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler was tied for third at six under with a few players left to finish.
Friday was not so kind to Tiger Woods, who needed a late birdie to make the projected cut line at two over.
"I was trying to be a little more aggressive," he said of his attempt to build on a solid first round. "Just didn't drive the ball."
Woods wasn't surprised by McIlroy's performance, saying: "He's done this before. Once he gets going, he can make a lot of birdies."
As for his own prospects, the former No. 1 player remained optimistic.
"Luckily I have two rounds to go," he said. "Hope I can play well on the weekend and at least give myself a shot."