GULLANE, Scotland -- A win here by Miguel Angel Jimenez could set golf back by 20 years.

Not because the Spaniard would be the oldest player ever to win a major championship. But because his fitness regimen is so old school it involves little more than wine, cigars and a stretching routine that looks like a cross between pole dancing and baton twirling.

The 49-year-old walked off Muirfield on Friday at 3-under 139, leading the British Open by one stroke over Tiger Woods and three other players. Asked whether he was feeling any additional pressure in pursuit of the one accomplishment that has eluded Jimenez throughout a distinguished 31-year pro career, he smiled.

"You have to do the same things that you do every day. You don't need to change anything," he said. "Just don't think about it. As soon as I finish here and I leave the golf course, I'm just going to stay with my girlfriend, with my sons, and we're going to have a dinner, like I do every day.

"Don't need to do anything special."

More than a few rivals in his position would have left the interview room and headed straight for the driving range to put in additional work. Jimenez planned nothing tougher than hitting a few balls with his coach looking on. He'll do the same thing upon returning to the course Saturday morning, followed by a pre-round stretch that has to be seen to be appreciated.

"I'll actually arrive early to the course to watch it," Phil Mickelson said. "He's one of those guys I like to ... watch and just kind of watch him move, you know, to see how he rolls."

Jimenez usually begins with a cigar between his lips and a bushy mane pulled back into a ponytail. First, he leans on a club and hunkers down for a few seconds. Next, he puts his knees together and rotates his hips for a few seconds, clockwise and then counter-clockwise. Next, he grabs two clubs and twirls them together, first with his right hand and then his left.

Lastly, Jimenez sticks the head of an iron beneath the sole of each shoe, one at a time, and extends his leg like a man about to stick his toe into a pool.

Skeptical that so little conditioning could unleash such scintillating golf -- Jimenez followed up a nervy 3-under 68 on Thursday with an even-par 71 in faster, firmer conditions -- a reporter asked whether he visited a trainer.

"Yeah, I had to go every morning. You know, I have my tennis elbow," Jimenez said. "I have to do that. And I have to stretch and I have to move early my body."

Jimenez hasn't hit many fairways and greens in regulation -- he was tied for 32nd and 80th in those categories. But he also was tied for the lead in scrambling to rescue pars (11 times), sand saves (he has gotten up and down the five times he has found bunkers) and alone in first in one-putts (17).

"Sometimes it's not about to make too many birdies," Jimenez said. "It's about not to make bogeys."

Woods played well enough to be only a shot behind but rarely smiled. Woods, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson were all at 2 under going into the weekend.

Woods went 12 holes without a birdie, saving his round with a collection of tough pars, and he finished with a 6-iron from 212 yards to 15 feet for a birdie and a 71.

"Just continue plodding along," Woods said when asked what he had to do over the weekend. "We're not going to get a lot of opportunities out there, but when I have, I've been able to capitalize. Hopefully I can continue doing that."

Westwood matched the best round of the day with a 68, while Stenson had a 70. Both of them had a double bogey on their cards.

Johnson got himself into such a predicament on No. 15 that his only option from a bunker was to aim sideways into the rough. He shot 72.

Mickelson was in range of the lead until a four-putt on 16, his second double bogey of the day. He shot a 3-over 74 and was 1 over heading into the weekend.

"The great thing about tomorrow is all the players in contention will be on the course at the same time," Mickelson said.

Some players won't be around at all. U.S. Open champion Justin Rose shot a 77 and missed the cut. Also, Rory McIlroy had a 75 for another weekend off.

Mark O'Meara, the 1998 British Open winner at Royal Birkdale, followed up his 67 with a 78. Tom Lehman, who won at Royal Lytham in 1996, followed his 68 with a 77.

"I played pretty poorly, to be honest with you," O'Meara, 56, said.

SaturDAY'S Tv
ESPN began its coverage at 4 a.m., and it continues until 11:30 a.m. ABC will pick up the telecast from noon-3 p.m.

leader board
The Leader
M. A. Jimenez 68-71--139 -3
The followers
Henrik Stenson 70-70--140 -2
Lee Westwood 72-68--140 -2
Tiger Woods 69-71--140 -2
Dustin Johnson 68-72--140 -2
The names
Zach Johnson 66-75--141 -1
Adam Scott 71-72--143 +1
Bubba Watson 70-73--143 +1
Ian Poulter 72-71--143 +1
Phil Mickelson 69-74--143 +1
Ernie Els 74-74--148 +6
Missed cut
Luke Donald 80-72--152 +10
Justin Rose 75-77--152 +10
Tom Watson 75-78--153 +11
Rory McIlroy 79-75--154 +12