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Whitnell books his place among golf's elite for the Open's final two rounds
The 23-year-old Five Lakes member followed up on his opening one-over par round of 71 to fire a 69 on the second day of his first major championship.
That placed him alongside such names as former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, reigning US Masters champion Bubba Watson and Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jimenez on level par after the first 36 holes.
Whitnell's strong second nine holes on the second day saw him positioned in the top 30 overall and as the joint third highest-placed English golfer.
He was ten shots off the leader, America's Brandt Snedeker, heading into the third day and is due to tee off at noon on Saturday alongside America's Bob Estes.
Having started at 4.11pm on Friday, Whitnell was playing in the very last group out on the course and, with all other games completed, knew he had to finish better than three-over to make the halfway cut to feature in the weekend action.
He started with a birdie two on the first hole and picked up another shot at the fourth, but a double bogey five at the par three ninth saw Whitnell level for the day at the turn.
However, he didn't let those dropped shots affect his concentration as a run of seven pars put him in a strong position to make the cut and a birdie at the 17th helped confirm his place in the final two rounds.
The Open Championship is due to continue on Saturday and concludes on Sunday.