Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood is just one shot off the lead after shooting an impressive round of 68. [Reuters]

Lee Westwood recorded one of the best scores of the day as he put himself in contention to finally secure his first ever major as he finds himself tied second at the Open.

The 40-year-old, who finished as runner-up back in 2010, holed five birdies on the front nine, eventually finishing with a 68 for an overall two-under par at Muirfield.

"I made the most of the earlier softer conditions," he told the BBC. "It's playing tough out there. It's about not making too many mistakes and having a lot of patience.

"I thought one over would be right in contention so to be two under is a real bonus and it could be leading at the end of the day."

Westwood is one shot behind leader Miguel Angel Jimenez who took the overall lead as he shot a one under par 71 to leave him three under after the first two rounds.

"Being on top of this major championship field makes you feel a lot of pressure but that's what I like to feel," said Jimenez.

"I like to feel the pressure. As long as you can handle that, it's no problem. I feel comfortable."

Ominously Tiger Woods is level with Westwood on two under after claiming a birdie on the final hole to give himself the chance to win his first Major since winning the US Open in 2009.

"I grinded all day," said Woods. "I hadn't made a birdie since the fifth so it was nice to make one on the last and improve the card.

"The golf course is getting quick - it was slow this morning. G [McDowell] and I were talking about it today - how slow [the putts] are up the hill. Today we couldn't get one in the hole.

"The wind direction was one thing. The greens are different speed and are progressively drying out. I was fighting it and G was fighting it.

"It'll be a fun weekend. This course will be difficult," he added.

Joining Woods and Westwood just one behind the leader is Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson [through 17], Angel Cabrera and Zach Johnson [through16].

Brit's Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter are still in contention as they remain just one over par, but it was another day to forget for Rory McIlory who missed the cut after shooting a 75 to finish his tournament on 12 over par.