The Open: Rory McIlroy weathers the Carnoustie storm to remain in contention

“I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging,” McIlroy promised.

“I’m going to go down giving it my best, not focusing on the results too much rather than simply allowing it to be just the by-product of all the little things you do to lead up to that.

“I’ve sometimes forgotten that, and just need to get back in that mind-set.

“I’ve been a little bit too careful and tentative when I’ve been in these big tournaments. Last day at Augusta, even the first day at Shinnecock, I just felt I was holding on a little too much.

“So this week, one of my main thoughts is just to let it go. Just go out there and give it your all, and I’d rather fail by trying 100 per cent than by sort of holding back and maybe not giving myself the opportunity to do well.”

Sandy Lyle REFUSES to admit this is his last Open after emotional final hole

The final hole seemed determined to swallow up the 60-year-old’s final 25-yard putt for a birdie to finish with a final 76 to end nine over par to close the period for which Lyle gets an automatic place in the competition as the winner of the tournament in 1985.

However, the Senior Open champion next week will be entitled to compete at Portrush and Lyle even hinted he may consider trying to qualify for one last shot at St Andrews in 2021.

“If I win next week, then I’ll be back again,” he said. “More punishment! No, you want to leave the gates open. There’s always a chance I could play my way back into the tournament. I will try. I won’t totally, totally give up.”

The Open 2018: Tommy Fleetwood in pole position to become first English winner in 26 years

Fleetwood, who only made the cut for the first time at an Open last year, made six birdies in a flawless round which took him within a stroke of Americans Kevin Kisner and Zach Johnson after Kisner found the Barry Burn and double-bogeyed the last.

An admiring Rory McIlroy paid tribute to Fleetwood’s round afterwards but, in the shake-up as well only one shot further back at five under, believes he can emulate it this weekend.

“I feel like there are low rounds in me. I’ve played within myself. I haven’t taken on too much,” said McIlroy.

“It has felt – I don’t want to say easy, but it has felt comfortable. So if I can get on a run or get off to a fast start in the next couple of days, I don’t see a ridiculously low score out there, but I definitely see something like Tommy shot today, a 66 or a 65. I’m capable of that.”

The Open tee times: When do Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy start day three?

12:20 – Thomas Pieters, Marcus Kinhult

12:30 – Haotong Li, Heau Hossler

12:45 – Sean Crocker, Cameron Davis

12:55 – Stewart Cink, Louis Oosthuizen

13:05 – Austin Cook, Phil Mickelson

13:15 – Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

13:25 – Michael Kim, Lucas Herbert

13:35 – Francesco Molinari, Jason Day

13:45 – Webb Simpson, Sung Kang

13:55 – Eddie Pepperell, Patrick Cantlay

14:05 – Brooks Koepka, Matthew Southgate

14:15 – Adam Scott, Kyle Stanley

14:30 – Alex Noren, Charley Hoffman

14:40 – Brandon Stone, Ryan Moore

14:50 – Danny Willett, Luke List

15:00 – Rickie Fowler, Thorbjorn Olesen

15:10 – Kevin Chappell, Jordan Spieth

15:20 – Tony Finau, Zander Lombard

15:30 – Erik van Rooyen, Matt Kuchar

15:40 – Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy

15:50 – Tommy Fleetwood, Pat Perez

16:00 – Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner