How it happened: Woods fires another 67
Friday, July 20, 2012
2012 Open Championship: Friday, in pictures
Check out images from the second round of the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
2012 Open Championship: Thursday, in pictures
Check out photos of first-round action at the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England -- Tiger Woods ended his Friday in high fashion, holing out a bunker shot for birdie to post a second consecutive 3-under 67 at the 141st Open Championship.
Woods trails leader Brandt Snedeker by four shots heading into Saturday's third round.
Currently, Woods will play in the second-to-last group behind Snedeker and Adam Scott (9 under).
Take a look at how Woods' round unfolded, including a second consecutive day of 14 out of 15 fairways hit.
• • •
No. 18, Par 4, 413 yards
Tiger has done a splendid job of keeping his ball in the fairway on Friday, missing only one, which again cost him a stroke. He has missed only two over the first two days.
• Off the tee: Tiger uses iron off the tee again and takes it up the right side of the fairway and should be able to attack the right-front pin.
• Approach shot: From just over 160 yards, Tiger finds his first bunker of the first two days, pushing his second shot right of the flag. This will be a tough up-and-down to stay at 5 under.
• Around the green: Well, forget the up-and-down, Tiger puts it in the cup out of the bunker and sets off a thunderous applause, picking up a second birdie on the back nine to polish off a second consecutive 3-under 67.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (thru 18 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• • •
No. 17, Par 4, 453 yards
That was a nice birdie and it would currently put Tiger in the second-to-last group on Saturday.
• Off the tee: Another iron here, and he plays a nice stinger up the right side of the fairway to try and take out the blindness of the second shot.
• Approach shot: From about 195 yards, Tiger takes 7-iron and flights it beautifully, landing on the front of the green and giving himself about 15-foot uphill putt for birdie.
• On the green: Tiger's putt initially looks like it is on a perfect line, but it fades late and settles about two feet past on the right. He taps that in for par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 17 holes; 5 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Bubba Watson was able to get himself together enough to post a 3-over 73 and move into the weekend at even par. Meanwhile, Zach Johnson fired a 4-over 74 to fall back to 1 under.
• • •
No. 16, Par 4, 336 yards
That was a nice par for Tiger, especially with 220 yards into the green from the fairway. He now gets to what many consider to be a birdie hole.
• Off the tee: Tiger pulls iron and smacks it up the left side of the fairway and should have a wedge into the green.
• Approach shot: From about 145 yards, Tiger takes a bit too much ground, but still lands it about 15 feet under the hole. Definitely a prime birdie opportunity.
• On the green: Tiger drains the birdie attempt, giving a little fist pump and setting off the crowd. It is his first birdie on the back nine for the week.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 16 holes; 5 under for tournament)
• • •
No. 15, Par 4, 462 yards
With Brandt Snedeker in at 10 under and Adam Scott at 9 under, a couple of late birdies would help Tiger's positioning heading into Saturday.
• Off the tee: Tiger took 3-wood here yesterday and found the rough, leading to a bogey. He decides to take a long iron here and pummels it up the left side of the fairway, leaving himself about 220 yards into the green.
• Approach shot: Tiger plays long iron and hits a fantastic shot into the middle of the green and it squirms to about 25 feet from the hole.
• On the green: Tiger gives it a great run, but it stays slightly left and he settles for yet another tap-in par. For the first time, he is a bit more animated about the miss. But par at No. 15 is a very good score.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 15 holes; 4 under for tournament)
• • •
No. 14, Par 4, 444 yards
Tiger has figured out the front nine (6 under), but the back nine has been a lot of scrambling (2 over) so far this week.
• Off the tee: Tiger splits another fairway with an iron, quickly going down to get his knee and begin his walk to the ball.
• Approach shot: Tiger takes 8-iron from 165 yards and attempts to cut it back into a tight pin location on the right, but it misses the green and he'll have a straightforward chip for birdie.
• Around the green: Tiger nearly chips in for birdie, running it just past on the right and he taps in the comebacker for another par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 14 holes; 4 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Matt Kuchar joins four others at 4 under with a birdie at the 18th, while playing competitor Adam Scott does the same to get to 9 under and one shot off Brandt Snedeker's lead heading into Saturday's third round. Scott fired a 3-under 67 on Friday.
• • •
No. 13, Par 4, 355 yards
A nice par there for Tiger, and now he gets to the easiest hole on the course on Friday, with the 13th playing under par.
• Off the tee: With iron in hand, Tiger hammers his tee ball and gives the club a nice little twirl as it splits the fairway. Tiger has missed only one fairway on Friday.
• Approach shot: Tiger pulls wedge from 120 yards and knocks it to about 15 feet under the hole for birdie.
• On the green: Tiger plays too much break, leaving it about two golf balls too high and he taps in for another par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 13 holes; 4 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Graeme McDowell has moved into a tie for third with a birdie at No. 13, moving back to 4 under overall.
• • •
No. 12, Par 3, 198 yards
That was an unlikely bogey considering Tiger's dominance of the par 5s throughout his career, but that is the chance he takes by using iron off the tee. If he is wayward, it will be penal.
• Off the tee: With 7-iron in hand, Tiger finds the green, but the ball didn't cut as much as he wanted, staying to the right when the pin is on the far left. He'll putt across the green for birdie.
• On the green: Tiger nearly holes the birdie bomb, putting perfect pace on the attempt and it comes to rest about six inches to the right of the cup. He taps in for par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 12 holes; 4 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Matt Kuchar joins a three-way tie for sixth place with a birdie to get to 3 under with Thomas Aiken and Graeme McDowell. Jason Dufner birdies No. 10 to move into a tie with Tiger and Paul Lawrie.
• • •
No. 11, Par 5, 598 yards
Tiger has 18 putts through 10 holes on Friday, two-putting eight times and one-putting on both birdies.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes iron off the tee and tries to cut it, but it stays right and finds the rough on the right, narrowly avoiding the longer stuff, but will still have a tough second shot back into the fairway.
• Second shot: Tiger tries to muscle it out and makes good contact, but pulls it left and into the rough on the left side of the fairway, where he will face an even tougher lie.
• Approach shot: With 210 yards left, he simply can't get to the green, so lays up to the right and he'll have wedge into the green.
• Fourth shot: Tiger still isn't on the green, taking a very aggressive line with his wedge, but sends it past the hole and just off the green. He'll be chipping for par.
• Around the green: Tiger hits a nice chip up the hill to the left of the cup, leaving himself about three feet for bogey.
• On the green: Tiger knocks in the short bogey putt for his only dropped shot on the day.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 11 holes; 4 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner makes it three birdies in a row with a long-range putt at No. 8 and the two-time PGA Tour winner moves to 3 under for the tournament.
• • •
No. 10, Par 4, 387 yards
On a day when the bulk of the field is going backward, Tiger's opening nine was solid, making up a little ground on leader Brandt Snedeker.
• Off the tee: Playing an iron off the tee again, Tiger takes a big rip at it and guides it right down the middle of the fairway at the shorter par 4.
• Approach shot: From about 130 yards, Tiger attempts to play a knock-down shot and puts it on the green, but leaves it about 25 feet short of the hole.
• On the green: Tiger actually hits this birdie attempt a bit too hard, running through the break at the end and leaving himself about three feet for par. He drains it for another par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 10 holes; 5 under for the tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner birdies the par-5 7th hole to move to 2 under on the tournament and in a tie for 8th. Meanwhile, Zach Johnson, who had moved to 6 under after a birdie at No. 1, has fallen back to 2 under after a bogey at the par-3 12th.
• • •
No. 9, Par 3, 165 yards
A solid first eight holes for Tiger, using a couple of methodical approaches to pick up birdies, and settling for pars on some of the tougher pin positions.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes 9-iron and decides to not challenge the left-front pin, leaving it out to the right, but pin-high and about 25 feet to the hole.
• On the green: Facing a fairly straightforward birdie putt, Tiger knows immediately that he hadn't played enough break, starting to walk after it when it was only halfway there. He knocks in the 2-footer for par to make the turn at 2-under 32.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 9 holes; 5 under for the tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Graeme McDowell birdied the 9th hole ahead of Tiger to get to 4 under. Meanwhile, John Daly has reached the 18th hole on the cut line.
• • •
No. 8, Par 4, 416 yards
Tiger won't be happy about not picking up a birdie at one of the two par 5s on the course, but the up-and-down was nice. He really hasn't had to do too much of that because of hitting greens in regulation.
• Off the tee: With another iron in hand, Tiger stripes it up the right side of the fairway and it runs for a few yards to set up a nice angle into the green.
• Approach shot: Tiger hits another green in regulation, playing a draw and putting it to about pin-high and 20 feet to the left of the cup.
• On the green: Tiger wanted this one, but the ball loses speed and cuts under the hole, leaving him with another tap-in par. This time he shakes his head a bit. He had talked about hitting his putts firmer on Thursday.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 8 holes; 5 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Adam Scott manages to save par at the par-3 12th despite hitting a bunker off the tee.
• • •
No. 7, Par 5, 592 yards
Another nice birdie there, especially on a long par 4 when Tiger is choosing to lay back off the tee.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes iron here again and just drills it down the middle of the fairway, but will not be able to get after the green in two.
• Second shot: Tiger makes his first mistake of the day, coming through his swing a bit late and sending the ball right and into some rough. He slipped on his follow through. He shakes his head a bit, but should still be able to get to the green, depending on the lie.
• Approach shot: Tiger decides to attack the flag from the long rough, and immediately starts yelling for it to "Bite!" - but it pays no attention to him, running off the back of the green and he'll have a tough up-and-down for par.
• Around the green: Tiger plays a nice chip shot to about five feet - setting up his longest par putt of the tournament (outside of his one bogey at the 15th on Thursday).
• On the green: And Tiger puts a nice stroke on it and saves par. While he wants birdies on par 5s, the hole is playing over par today, so par is a good score.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 7 holes; 5 under for the tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Bubba Watson made a mess of the par-5 7th and is 5 over on his round and has slipped back to 2 over for the tournament. Meanwhile, Adam Scott has moved to 8 under behind a birdie at the par-5 11th.
• • •
No. 6, Par 4, 492 yards
Tiger is looking comfortable with his putter, giving every roll a chance - and is showing very little frustration when he misses.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes iron and absolutely hammers it, playing a low shot that runs forever on the fairway and should allow him to attack this longer par 4.
• Approach shot: Tiger takes his second shot high into the air and lands it softly on the front of the green, pin-high and about 15 feet to the left of the flag.
• On the green: Tiger gets this birdie to drop as well, walking it in at the last second. That is two birdies in his last three holes.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 6 holes; 5 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Paul Lawrie picks up a double-bogey at the 10th hole to fall back to 4 under, leaving Adam Scott alone in second at 7 under (Scott just birdied the par-4 10th). Zach Johnson bogeyed the par-5 7th hole to fall back to 3 under.
• • •
No. 5, Par 3, 219 yards
That was a clutch birdie on the 4th hole, set up by a fantastic approach. Tiger seems fine with his controlled game plan.
• Off the tee: Tiger immediately starts yelling at his tee ball, and it listens, finding the left side of the green and running up the side, leaving Tiger about 20 feet from the left for birdie.
• On the green: This putt is a bit more delicate running down a slope, but Tiger plays perfect pace and it settles about a foot to the left of the cup and he taps in for a par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 5 holes; 4 under for tournament)
• • •
No. 4, Par 4, 392 yards
Tiger gets through the tough opening three holes with three birdie putts that missed by a total of four feet. He'll need a couple of them to drop to get within a handful of shots of Brandt Snedeker, who is in the clubhouse at 10 under.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes long iron off the tee and splits the fairway again. He has definitely been machine-like off the tee at Lytham, but will need to get his approach shots a bit closer to give himself shorter birdie tries.
• Approach shot: From about 165 yards, Tiger plays a beautiful shot into the right-middle hole location, with the ball settling pin-high and about eight feet to the left.
• On the green: Tiger calmly knocks in the putt for his first birdie since the par-5 7th hole on Thursday.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 4 holes; 4 under for the tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Adam Scott has moved back to 6 under with a birdie at the par-5 7th hole. Graeme McDowell drains a nice birdie putt on the 4th hole ahead of Tiger to get to 4 under. Ernie Els has fallen back to 2 under after back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6.
• • •
No. 3, Par 4, 478 yards
Tiger didn't take many chances off the tee on Thursday and the conditions today will require him to stick to his game plan, as long as he stays in contention.
• Off the tee: With fairway wood in hand, Tiger hammers it right down the middle of the fairway to give him a good look at the elevated green in front of him.
• Approach shot: From 215 yards, Tiger hits another cut into the green and it lands in the middle of the green, leaving himself about 25 feet from under the hole for birdie.
• On the green: Tiger gives the lengthy try a good run, but it slips by on the right by about two feet and he makes that for par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 3 holes; 3 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Brandt Snedeker has tied the course record by making an improbable par at the par-4 18th, capping off a 6-under 64 to finish the first 36 holes at 10 under, five shots clear of Paul Lawrie and Adam Scott. Snedeker has no bogeys over the first two rounds. The 10-under total equals the Open record held by Nick Faldo (Muirfield, 1992). Meanwhile, the cut line has indeed moved to 3 over, with both Keegan Bradley and Rickie Fowler sitting right at that number.
• • •
No. 2, Par 4, 481 yards
Tiger is going to need putts like the one he had at the first to fall today. While he is not likely thinking about Brandt Snedeker's score, he does need to stay in realistic striking distance.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes driver, chokes up a bit and cuts it and it runs up the right side of the fairway. He led the field in fairways hit on Thursday, missing only one of 15. Staying out of the bunkers today is at a premium.
• Approach shot: From just under 200 yards, Tiger is disappointed in the shot immediately, but it does find the green, but leaves himself about 45 feet for birdie.
• On the green: Really just looking at a lag putt, Tiger knocks it to about 18 inches and he taps that in for another par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 2 holes; 3 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Brandt Snedeker manages to scramble again to save par, putting from well off the green to about 18 inches and he makes that to move to the 18th at 6 under for the day. A birdie at the last would set the course record. Zach Johnson has fallen back to 4 under after a double-bogey, leaving Paul Lawrie alone in second place after he birdied No. 5 to get to 6 under. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson's misery is finally over, firing an 8-over 78 on Friday to miss the cut by a mile.
• • •
No. 1, Par 3, 205 yards
Wearing a black hat, grey sweater with a black polo peaking through the top and black slacks, Tiger takes to a dreary Royal Lytham, currently seven shots off the pace set by Brandt Snedeker.
• Off the tee: With a little breeze from the left, Tiger tees his ball up on the left side of the tee box and nearly holes it in the air, hitting about nine inches beyond the hole and coming to rest about 10 feet past.
• On the green: Tiger reads a bit too much break into it and it hangs out to the right and he taps in for a par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 1 hole; 3 under for the tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Brandt Snedeker pars the par-4 16th with a two-putt to stay at 10 under with two holes to play.
• • •
Update #20: 9:36 a.m. EDT
Ernie Els is looking comfortable at Royal Lytham, draining a 20-footer at No. 2 for birdie to get to 4 under for the tournament.
Adam Scott has fallen back to 5 under after a bogey at No. 3, paying the price for an approach shot that found the long rough left of the green.
• • •
Update #19: 9:33 a.m. EDT
Brandt Snedeker should go buy a lottery ticket after this round, as he got away with an errant approach shot into the 15th by pitching out of the long rough to about 18 inches, which he tapped in for par. He now moves to the short par-4 16th hole.
Meanwhile, Zach Johnson opened his round with a birdie to get to 6 under, four back of Snedeker.
• • •
Update #18: 9:19 a.m. EDT
Rory McIlroy will play the weekend, but have a much earlier tee time than most thought he would after his opening, 3-under 67. McIlroy was sporadic on Friday and carded a 5-over 75 and is right on the cut line.
Playing with McIlroy, Keegan Bradley couldn't muster a birdie on either 17 or 18 and finishes the day at 3 over for the tournament and now will have to hope the cut line drops a number.
• • •
Update #17: 9:09 a.m. EDT
Now through 31 holes at Royal Lytham, Brandt Snedeker has yet to bogey. He came close at the par-4 13th hole, sending his tee ball into the long rough on the left, but managed to get it to the green and two-putted from long distance to save par. Snedeker remains at 10 under.
Snedeker is 6 under on the day. If he remained there, he'd tie the course record, which Adam Scott tied on Thursday.
• • •
Update #16: 9:03 a.m. EDT
Rory McIlroy will not be pleased with his round today, picking up another bogey at the par-4 17th to fall to 5 over for the day and 2 over for the tournament. He'll need to at least par the 18th hole to secure a spot for the weekend. A bogey could mean for a long afternoon of waiting.
• • •
Update #15: 8:57 a.m. EDT
Luke Donald is back to 2 under for the tournament after a nice, long birdie make at the par-4 15th hole. Donald has five birdies on his card today, with three bogeys costing him further movement up the leaderboard.
Some marquee names are pestering the cut line, with Rickie Fowler currently 2 over and inside the line with three holes to play, while Keegan Bradley is 3 over for the tournament and has only two holes to play. The projected cut is 2 over, although that would take stellar play this afternoon, so it is likely to drop back to 3 over.
While he'll make the cut, Nicolas Colsaerts has turned in a 7-over 77 a day after a 5-under 65, moving himself out of contention.
• • •
Update #14: 8:52 a.m. EDT
Brandt Snedeker's run of birdies ended at the 13th, but manages to pick up a nice two-putt par to stay at 10 under.
Overnight leader Adam Scott opens with a two-putt par to stay at 6 under.
While that streak ended, Phil Mickelson picked up a second consecutive double-bogey to move to 6 over for the day, 9 over for the tournament and in a tie for 142nd place. While Lefty has never won this tournament, he does usually make the cut. He'll miss it by a large margin this week.
• • •
Update #13: 8:35 a.m. EDT
A day after the buzz around Royal Lytham that Adam Scott could be headed toward the first 62 in a major, that talk can now shift to Brandt Snedeker, who just birdied the par-3 12th hole with a 12-footer to move to 6 under on the day and 10 under overall. He'd have to go 2 under over his final six holes to shoot 62.
Even more importantly for Snedeker, he now leads Adam Scott by four shots. Scott is set to tee off in about 10 minutes.
• • •
Update #12: 8:21 a.m. EDT
Despite a conservative third shot into the par-5 11th hole, Brandt Snedeker's putter is on fire and he drains a long birdie attempt to move to 9 under, now three shots clear of Adam Scott. He is now 5 under on the day with seven holes to play.
Meanwhile, Luke Donald found some bushes off the tee at No. 13 and had to take a drop, but managed to make bogey to limit the damage and falls back to 1 under for the tournament.
• • •
Update #11: 8:17 a.m. EDT
Phil Mickelson gave fans a glimmer of hope with a birdie at No. 12 to get back to 5 over, but then doubled the par-4 13th hole and is now 7 over for the tournament and likely headed home at the end of the day. Mickelson has struggled to find fairways and hasn't been as consistent in getting out of trouble.
• • •
Update #10: 8:09 a.m. EDT
Rory McIlroy is struggling, dropping to 4 over for the day and 1 over for the tournament, picking up a bogey at the par-4 14th hole. He has a double and two bogeys over his last six holes.
He isn't alone in his struggles, as Nicolas Colsaerts is 5 over thru 15 holes to fall back to even for the tournament.
Louis Oosthuizen is 2 under thru 13 holes to get back to even for the tournament.
• • •
Update #9: 7:59 a.m. EDT
Brandt Snedeker is putting on a clinic right now, picking up birdie at the par-3 9th hole to move to 8 under overall, two clear of Adam Scott. Snedeker makes the turn with a 4-under 30.
As for the rest of the field, a few notables:
• Rory McIlroy slipped back to even par for the tournament with a bogey at the par-3 12th hole and is now only two shots clear of the current cut line, so he'll need to be careful over his final five holes.
• Luke Donald is holding steady after three consecutive birdies at Nos. 4-6, picking up birdie at No. 8, but giving it back with a bogey at No. 10 to stay at 2 under for the championship.
• Two-time Open champ Padraig Harrington is 1 under on his round and for the championship, currently on the 13th hole.
• Garth Mulroy and Simon Dyson both have low rounds going, with each 3 under on their respective rounds to get into red figures.
• There are five players - including Gary Woodland - who have completed their rounds and sit at 3 over. They'll have to watch the afternoon develop to see if they'll have a shot to play the weekend. It is likely, but the forecast calls for clear skies this afternoon.
• • •
Update #8: 7:23 a.m. EDT
There is a new leader on the course, with Brandt Snedeker sliding in a left-to-right birdie on the par-5 7th hole to move to 7 under, now one shot ahead of Adam Scott.
Snedeker is making a move while the rest of the field is staying somewhat stagnant. Of those in the top 10 on the leaderboard, only Peter Hanson and Steve Stricker are currently on the course, and both are now four shots back at 3 under.
• • •
Update #7: 6:59 a.m. EDT
We have a new co-leader as Brandt Snedeker nailed a lengthy birdie attempt at No. 6 to get to 6 under with overnight leader Adam Scott.
Scott will tee off in the next 45 minutes.
• • •
Update #6: 6:53 a.m. EDT
Rory McIlroy has provided the most exciting moment of the past 30 minutes or so, picking up double-bogey at the par-3 9th hole, failing to get out of a greenside bunker in his first attempt and then two-putting from about 15 feet. He falls back to 1 under for the tournament.
Brandt Snedeker is holding steady at 5 under, one shot behind leader Adam Scott. Snedeker has four consecutive pars after an opening birdie.
• • •
Update #5: 6:18 a.m. EDT
Make that three in a row for World No. 1 Luke Donald, picking up a 12-footer on No. 6 to get to 2 under on the tournament and four shots off the lead. The sixth hole played as the toughest on the course on Thursday.
Donald is playing the round without normal caddie, John McLaren, who has taken the day off to be with his wife as they have their first child.
Gareth Lord, Robert Karlsson's caddie, is looping for Donald on Friday. The two have worked together previously, with Lord on Donald's bag when he won at Disney at the end of 2011.
• • •
Update #4: 5:56 a.m. EDT
Hearing the "Luuuuuuuuuuukkkkkeeee" cheers after Luke Donald makes a second consecutive birdie at No. 5 to get back into red figures for the tournament.
Steve Stricker follows a bogey at No. 3 with a long birdie at No. 4 to stay at 3 under adn three off the lead.
Brandt Snedeker has moved to within a shot of the lead after a birdie at No. 1 and avoided disaster on No. 2 after sending his drive well right of the fairway with a nice approach and two-putt for par.
• • •
Update #3: 5:49 a.m. EDT
Rickie Fowler has yet to record a par in his round, picking up a bogey at No. 1, birdie at No. 2, a triple-bogey at No. 3 and then back-to-back birdies on Nos. 4-5. He sits at 2 over for the tournament and would currently be inside the cut line, although that number is likely to change as the conditions change.
• • •
Update #2: 5:27 a.m. EDT
Let's just say the players need to avoid the bunkers. As the round goes on, there is little wind to help dry out the 206 bunkers found at Royal Lytham, leaving tons of water in many of them.
Peter Hanson has moved to 4 under after a birdie at No. 1, sticking his tee shot to about three feet under the hole.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy follwed a bogey at No. 3 with a nice birdie at No. 4 to stay at 3 under. Phil Mickelson is playing solid golf, playing the opening two holes at even to stay at 3 over, but then dropped a shot at the third hole to fall back to 4 over. It is likely that he'll need to pick up a couple of strokes if he hopes to make the cut.
Nicolas Colsaerts, one shot off the lead coming into the day, dropped another shot at the par-4 3rd hole to fall back to 3 under for the tournament. Colsaerts is thru five holes on Friday.
• • •
Update #1: 4:43 a.m. EDT
Now, this looks more like an Open Championship venue. Overnight rain has made Royal Lytham sloppy and dangerous, with bunkers carrying plenty of water, fairways featuring some standing water and errant shots truly being penal.
Rory McIlroy is on the course and is still at 3 under for the tournament, but has only played the par-3 1st hole.
Nicolas Colsaerts dropped a shot at the second hole to fall back to 4 under for the tournament, while Toshinori Muto did the same to drop to 2 under overall.
Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald have both just teed off at No. 1, with Mickelson finding immediate danger in a greenside bunker.
• • •
Tournament coverage: Thursday
• Looney Lytham: From Rory McIlroy plunking a kid on the head - and the ball ricocheting out-of-bounds - to putters in a bunker, Royal Lytham offered plenty of odd moments on Thursday. Story.
• Searching for Lefty: Anyone seen Phil Mickelson? He sprayed the ball all over Royal Lytham on Thursday, reverting to the days when the Open Championship simply was not his cup of tea. Story.
• That's all you got? The world’s elite turned up for the 141st Open Championship expecting Royal Lytham & St. Annes to play like a lion and found a pussycat. Story.
• Great Scott! Adam Scott brought in a different mindset on Thursday morning: Play the first hole like it is the 72nd hole of a tournament. After a 6-under 64 at Royal Lytham, looks like it might work out. Story.
• Deja vu? Tiger Woods teased the world last month at the U.S. Open. Is his solid 3-under 67 on Thursday a sign that he is really back? Even Tiger says there is "a long way to go" at Royal Lytham. Story.
• Notebook: Rory McIlroy was able to recover from one big mistake with a pair of birdies, while Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will have plenty of work to do on Friday. Notes.
• Staying hot: Fresh off a PGA Tour win, Zach Johnson shot a 65 Thursday at the Open Championship, his best score in a major by three shots. If he sticks to his game plan, he could be looking at a second major title on Sunday. Story.
• Tiger Tracker: Tiger Woods fired a 3-under 67 to sit three shots back of leader Adam Scott, hitting fairways and greens like a machine, with his putter hot early and suspect late. See how his round unfolded.
• • •
Preview coverage: Wednesday
• Let the chase begin: Wednesday at the Open Championship featured a few side bets, some hearty laughs, plenty of languages and some sun - yes, some sun. Now, it's time to get after that Claret Jug. Story.
• At peace: During a 45-minute session with the media on Wednesday at the Open Championship, David Duval was so well-spoken and relaxed that he resembled a veteran politician or lawyer. Story.
• Did you know? In preparation for the 141st Open Championship, which begins here along the Lancashire Coast of England on Thursday, here are 10 things you might not know about Royal Lytham. Story.
• Getting the job done: If the main job of Open courses is to identify major champions, then give Royal Lytham & St. Annes an A-plus. Story.
• Royal disappointment: The Irish Open started the buzz around Royal Portrush hosting an Open Championship. R&A chief executive Peter Dawson pretty much put that thought to rest after his annual press conference. Story.
• Notebook: Weather will wreak havoc on Wednesday with rain in the forecast, but Thursday is looking more promising, with only a 10 percent chance of precipitation. Notes.
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Preview coverage: Tuesday
• Predictable? Our staff of experts have made their final picks for the 2012 Open Championship, with Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington all popular choices. Predictions.
• Notebook: With wet fairways a reality, players such as Ernie Els are choosing to replace hybrids and 5-woods with long irons at Royal Lytham. Notes.
• Misery loves company: Driving rain, hip-high rough and the pressure of a major championship - it is the players sign up for at the Open Championship, and they embrace it with a smile on their collective faces. Story.
• Odds in his favor? Only four years ago, it seemed Padraig Harrington was destined to win plenty of majors. He then fell off the success map, only to reappear in 2012 and is a legitimate contender at Royal Lytham. Story.
• Back on track: One year after fading at the Open Championship and blaming the weather, Rory McIlroy says he has grown from the experience and has regained his form. Story.
• Royal Lytham snapshots: The Golfweek trip across the pond has been telling in who takes home the Claret Jug come Sunday. Who is sitting pretty this year? Blog.
• Matter of mindset: With both players looking to snap major droughts - Tiger Woods at four years and Lee Westwood at career-long - both players are taking polar opposite attitudes into this week's Open Championship. Story.
• Toughest drive: The longest drive at Royal Lytham is the route for your correspondent simply to get to the golf course. Story.
• Maginnes On Tap: Once commonly referred to as the British Open in the U.S., it is now easy to see why it is rightly called the Open Championship. Story.