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Early starters battle overcast conditions as Tommy Fleetwood shares Open lead

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Overcast conditions greeted the early starters as day two of the 151st Open Championship got under way at Royal Liverpool.

Home favourite Tommy Fleetwood shared the overnight lead on five under par with Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo and South African amateur Christo Lamprecht, but was not due out in round two until shortly before 3pm.

Rory McIlroy was set to resume his bid for an overdue fifth major title just before 10am, the 2014 winner at Hoylake having made what could prove a crucial par save on the 18th on Thursday evening.

Fifty of the last 52 Open champions have been within five shots of the lead after round one and McIlroy holed from 10 feet on the last – having needed two shots to escape from a bunker – to return a level-par 71.

“It was a really good par in the end,” McIlroy said. “I got lucky because that ball could have gone into a deeper part of my footprints and I could have been there all night.

“I could have let that round get away from me, but I didn’t with the two birdies on the back nine. I need to shoot something in the 60s [on Friday] and I will be right there for the weekend.”

Fleetwood had earlier ridden a wave of home support to the top of the leaderboard in what will be an emotional week, with Friday marking the first anniversary of the death of his mother Sue.

“It really was a great day,” the 32-year-old from Southport said. “To get that support all day was amazing.

“If you’re not going to enjoy this atmosphere and these experiences then what’s the point? Make sure you have the time of your life out there.”

Spain’s Adrian Otaegui was the first contender back out on the course on Friday and scrambled a par on the opening hole to remain one off the pace.

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