RORY McILROY, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson may be on their way out of Portush but there's still a star-studded leaderboard going into the weekend.

Story of the day was McIlroy's valiant attempt to make the cut with a brilliant display over the back nine and ultimately he shot one too many despite a six-under 65.

That was a real shame as there was such a buzz around his fightback and he'll be missed – but at least he's smiling again after his torturous Thursday round and I'm not one of those saying he'll never win a Major again. He'll land several more but maybe needs some help with the mental aspect of the game.

It's another Irishman Shane Lowry who sets the pace alongside JB Holmes on eight under but it's players behind them who bookies fear most.

Links fan Tommy Fleetwood is the new favourite at 6-1 with bet365 while world No.1 Brooks Koepka is 13-2 with Unibet.

Lowry and Rose are 15-2 at William Hill and then comes Jon Rahm and Lee Westwood at 14s and Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth at 16s.

Difficult to pick a winner at this stage but three of my four antepost picks are within four of the lead but US Open champion Gary Woodland missed the cut after a poor finish.

We're now down to twoballs with Graeme McDowell and Bubba Watson first out at 9.55am and Lowry and JB Holmes not teeing off until 3.50pm.

Of the earlier starters I like Paul Casey to beat Kyle Stanley and Justin Thomas to edge out Scots star Robert MacIntyre.

I'm taking former world No.1 Thomas against the rookie on a treble with my man Rahm to beat Patrick Reed and Koepka to see off Justin Rose in a cracking pairing. Draws are not void as not many bookies have it today.

Twoball Top Treble

  • Thomas to bt MacIntyre (1.15pm)
  • Rahm to bt Reed (2.40pm)
  • Koepka to bt Rose (3.20pm)
  • (4-1, William Hill)

Antepost Picks Previously Advised

  • 2pts Koepka to win (11-1, William Hill)
  • 1.5pts ew Rahm (16-1, Betfred – 8 places)
  • 1pt ew Kuchar (30-1, Coral – 10 places)
  • 1pt ew Woodland (70-1, bet365 – 8 places) MC

If you're a keen golf punter don't forget to have a look at our betting masterclass on how to pick a winner when betting on golf!

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