Jason Dufner will start day three of the Open on level par - 12 shots behind leader Rory McIlroy after a tough second day at Royal Liverpool.

The 2012 USPGA champion carded a two-over par 74 in tricky conditions on Merseyside, making a solid 144 after 36-holes.

+2 cut

That’s two shots under the two-over par cut-line at Hoylake, and gives Dufner a platform to try and build for another solid finish at a Major.

Things didn’t start well for the American on Friday, bogeying the second and the fifth to put him back on scratch. The day before, Dufner had hit three birdies in an error-free 17-holes before a bogey at the last spoiled his day.

But, as things looked to be going in the wrong direction following another bogey at the par-three ninth, a quick birdie followed at the tenth. Another bogey followed at the 12th, but a fine three-shot birdie two holes later got Dufner back on track.

Birdies & Bogeys

Another birdie, this time at the par-five 16th, meant the 37-year-old was on course to be under-par heading into Saturday, but another bogey at the 17th - a hole he birdied the day before - meant Dufner would card +2 for the day and finish in tied-31st for the tournament.

That leaves him level with the likes of Phil Mickleson and Keegan Bradley, but it;s McIlroy who is setting the pace with two stunning rounds of 66. He’s followed by Dustin Johnson, who sits at -8 after a fine 65 on day two. Fellow American Rickie Fowler and Spaniard Sergio Garcia are among a clutch of players in third, a further two shots back.

Early start

With heavy storms forecast, Open organisers have taken the step of introducing two-tee start times for the first time, and it means Dufner will tee-off with the aforementioned duo - Mickleson and Bradley - at 9am from the first.

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Jason Dufner
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The Open