The race for the Silver Medal at The 150th Open looks set to go down to the wire, with four players still in the running to be crowned the top amateur at St Andrews.
Barclay Brown remains the frontrunner for the illustrious honour, holding a three-shot lead over his nearest rival after following up Thursday’s 68 with a two-under 70.
But the 21-year-old, who won the 36-hole Final Qualifying tournament at Hollinwell, faces stiff competition from Italian Filippo Celli - the reigning European Amateur Champion.
Celli produced a bogey-free 67 to rise up the leaderboard while Sam Bairstow and Aaron Jarvis are also through to the weekend after the making the cut on level par.
And Brown is not getting ahead of himself despite being in pole position for the Silver Medal, insisting he just wants to keep on playing conservative golf on his Open debut.
“It was a lot different to yesterday, the golf probably wasn’t quite as solid,” said the Englishman. “I was a little scrappy but I managed to fight hard and get a good score in.
“It was a little shaky but there was a lot of good stuff again and it was a great finish. I just wanted to keep hitting as many good shots as I could and keep it safe.
“You can play to the open areas and it might be a little tougher to score, which I think I found when I played a little safe at times, but I managed to get some birdies at the end.”
Brown had a shaky start to his second round, bogeying the 2nd and 4th, but recovered with birdies on the 5th, 8th and 9th holes to go out in 35 on the famous Old Course.
It was a similar story at the beginning of his back nine, following bogeys on the 11th and 14th with three birdies in the final four holes to ensure he led the Silver Medal contenders.
He added: “I knew it would be difficult but I knew I was playing some good golf and fortunately I managed to put a good couple of days together at the right time.
“I’m absolutely buzzing [to be here for the weekend]. I was not ready to go so I’m over the moon that I get to be here for another two days. My friends and family seem pretty pleased.
“I don’t think they enjoyed today as much as yesterday with a few squirrely moments on the course but it was a good finish and I’m sure we’ll have a good afternoon.”
On the Silver Medal, he said: “That remains the main goal for the weekend. That’s really the goal coming into the week but I just want to go out and hit as many good shots as I can.”
Celli was two-over for the Championship after an opening 74 but birdies on the 5th and 9th holes on Friday saw him reach the turn in two-under for the round to get back to level overall.
The 21-year-old then catapulted himself up the leaderboard with a three further birdies after the turn, picking up shots on the 11th, 14th and 18th to finish with a five-under 67.
Bairstow and Jarvis are three shots further back on level par, with the former shooting back-to-back 72s to make the weekend while the latter needed a three-under-par 69.
Jarvis, representing the Cayman Islands, secured his place in The 150th Open with victory in January’s Latin America Amateur Championship in the Dominican Republic.
The 19-year-old also played in The Masters earlier this year and said he has relished every moment of his major experiences so far as he prepares for two more rounds.
“The whole day, I just had that mindset of going out and playing some good golf today and making a charge to hopefully make the cut,” said the University of Nevada Las Vegas freshman.
“It was great. I stuck with the same process and went out and had a good game plan with my caddie and just stuck with it. Made some more putts than yesterday. It was good.
“I've enjoyed every moment. It's hard to tell someone's enjoying just because you're so focused and ready to play golf. I've enjoyed every moment.
“Throughout the whole Masters and here, I've learned a lot, which has been good. Hopefully I can continue to just keep playing my game and get back into these tournaments.”
Six amateurs started The 150th Open but while four remain in the Silver Medal hunt, Keita Nakajima (+3) and Aldrich Potgieter (+6) will not be playing the weekend.