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Jason Day's epic British Open collapse

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McIlroy 'unbelievably proud' of how he handled himself (1:17)

Rory McIlroy reflects on missing the cut at The Open despite playing a superb round of 65 at Portrush. (1:17)

Jason Day has suffered an epic back-nine meltdown to miss the British Open halfway cut for the first time in his stellar career.

A dejected Day emerged from the scorers' hut in no mood to explain how he collapsed from four under par through 12 holes of his second round to two over barely an hour later.

Australia's former world No.1 had surged into the top 10 with two quick birdies after the turn before totally imploding with four bogeys and a double bogey during a diabolical five-hole stretch from the 13th tee to 17th green.

Despite being resigned to his fate, Day had to wait more than five hours before receiving official confirmation he wouldn't feature on the weekend after his three-over 74 meant he missed the cut by a shot.

Last seen in animated discussion with new caddie Steve Williams, Day's capitulation was as swift as it was stunning.

Looking rock solid, he'd only had one bogey in first 30 holes around the Northern Irish links course.

But, sadly for a player once regarded as the best grinder in major championship golf, the train-wreck finish wasn't unfamiliar.

The 2015 US PGA champion suffered a similar mental fade-out at Royal Birkdale two years ago, when he leaked five shots in the last three holes of his second round.

That year, Day returned the following day and apologised for behaving like a spoilt brat after charging back up the leaderboard with a third-round 65.

"It wasn't so much that I was angry at thinking I'm missing the cut," Day said.

"It was more so I was angry with I was even par with three holes to go - and I came home in a coffin.

"I was honestly thinking I could par 16, birdie 17, par 18, get it to one-under par and I'm right there."

But he won't have the chance to atone this time around.

Day, though, wasn't Australia's only major champion and former world No.1 to miss the cut with Adam Scott also booking an early flight home.

Scott was doomed after opening with a 78 and finished at nine over for the championship after his 73 on Friday.

Scott last missed weekend participation at The Open a decade ago.

"Look, I actually feel like my game is alright. I just misplayed the golf course a little bit, which is surprising because I did my homework," he told AAP.

"But I couldn't execute this week but I'm excited to be playing next week in Memphis and getting straight back on track."