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"I'm just playing to my spots, " he said.

Tiger Woods of the USA watches his putt on the 18th hole during the third round of the British Open at Carnoustie.

In a cruel stroke of misfortune, all eight Australians at Carnoustie copped the worst of the Open's notoriously fickle weather conditions in the first two rounds as Americans Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar cashed in on golden sunshine to soar up the leaderboard on day two. After a terrific third-round 66 that included six birdies, he finished his round just two shots back of the lead.

Woods nearly gave back another shot on the 18th hole after teeing off into the rough near a creek. He was beyond pleased.

It is just the fourth time Woods has opened a major at par or better in the 13 times he has played going back to 2013.

Excitement mounted on the Scottish links as Woods started to climb the leaderboard, packed galleries following the former world number one around the course and whoops of support greeting virtually every shot. "I've got a chance at this, which is great".

"It certainly is possible", Woods said.

"Hopefully, I'll have another chance to prove that I can do it here, " Kisner said.

"So I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I'm just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning. It's going to be fun".

But no sooner had he done so than his six-iron to the par-three 16th trickled off the side of the green, from where he could not avoid dropping his first and only shot of the day. Both co-leaders are short hitters who rely on strong short games.

"But no, I think at this stage it kind of shows them what's out there and gives them the intention that they need to look for birdies rather than play it safe".

The KT tape on the back of Woods' body is in place to alleviate an ache caused by sleeping in an awkward position.

They do not tee off until mid-afternoon Saturday, one shot ahead of Tommy Fleetwood, Pat Perez and Xander Schauffele.

Already a two-time major champion with titles at St. Andrews and Augusta National, the 42-year-old from Iowa has made the cut 12 straight times in the British Open, a streak that began at Carnoustie in 2007.

Right alongside him is Bendigo's Herbert, playing his first Open Championship and who rattled around in a two-under par 69 to make sure he could enjoy another weekend of major championship golf.

Woods has been waiting for a round like this in a major championship for a long time and he made no effort to hide his glee.

"I'm going to have to have a really good round - that five-under round, ideally tomorrow - to get myself somehow into this tournament".

"I feel like I've been improving each day", Spieth told Golf Channel. "And on top of that, I made some longer putts, which was nice".

"It's been a few years since I've felt like this", Woods said.

The world No.10 was second at last month's US Open at a slick Shinnecock Hills, finishing with a major record-equaling 63, but he would love nothing more than a Claret Jug to open his major account.

"We saw it explode like everyone else", said Russ Schleiden, the chief marketing officer for the company.

"I just kept levelheaded when I needed to", McIlroy said Thursday, "and you know what, I didn't let the conditions get to me".