Notes: Notables closely watching cutline
Friday, July 16, 2010
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Up and down North Street and in the pubs and flats throughout this university town, there’s a lot of venom being directed at whoever established the hole locations for the second round of the 139th Open Championship.
That, of course, is just one of the many subplots that unfolded on what might have been the wildest and wackiest British Open day in years.
Some of the others:
THE CUT: When play finally ended at about 9:45 p.m., 30 players were still on the course and the cut looked like this: 70 players were at 1 over or better. That means a handful of notable names had to hang around St. Andrews last night with a chance to make it in. Among them were Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson and Charl Schwartzel.
Their chances would have to be considered fairly good, because of the 30 players still to finish this morning, three (Jason Day, Mark O’Meara and Gregory Havret) are 1 over, and losing strokes down the stretch at the Old Course is hard to avoid.
British Open (Rd. 2)
Sights from the second round of the British Open, played July 16 at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
SOME APPLAUSE, PLEASE: Maybe he’ll make it, maybe he won’t, but give Fowler some credit. After a triple bogey, double bogey punch late in Round 1 led to his opening 79, the young man rebounded with a 67 to get in at 2 over.
MYSTERIOUS: He appears to have a game built for links golf, yet Geoff Ogilvy shot 78 (150 total) and missed the cut for a fourth straight British Open. He was T-5 at St. Andrews in 2005, but has now missed the cut in six of eight starts in this major.
OTHERS CHECKING OUT: Of course, Ogilvy was hardly alone when it came to marquee names checking out early. So, too, did former British Open winners Ernie Els (4 over), Padraig Harrington (6 over) and Tom Watson (4 over), the feel-good story from a year ago.
The hottest player on the PGA Tour, Justin Rose, also missed the cut, as did Angel Cabrera, Jim Furyk, Justin Leonard, Paul Goydos, Bill Haas and Tim Clark.
BIG EASY’S BIG NUMBER: In 75 previous rounds in the British Open, Els had never shot higher than 76. But he went for 79 in the brutal winds to miss the cut for just the second time in a British Open. The other time was his debut, in 1989, meaning he had made 18 in a row.
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: With a 69-70 effort, Retief Goosen has now made the cut in 15 consecutive British Opens, his only miss being his debut, in 1993.
FIGURE THIS OUT: Furyk shot 3-under 69 the first time he played St. Andrews in a British Open. He is 10 over in his seven rounds since then, having missed the cut twice in three starts at the Old Course.
HAD TO GET IT EARLY: When Martin Kaymer birdied the par-4 18th to shoot 71 in Game 17, people could hardly have realized they were seeing the last of the par-breakers in Round 2. After all, it meant that 23 of the first 51 players out had recorded a red number. As the hours rolled on and the wind rushed in with a relentlessness few have seen, the chances of another sub-par round disappeared.
But when play resumes Saturday morning, there will be some good chances because amateur Jin Jeong is 1 under playing the 18th and Darren Clarke is 2 under with three to play.
PERFECTION: It’s hard to attain in golf, but not when the goal is to hit the first fairway at St. Andrews. In Round 2 Friday, all 156 of the players succeeded. Hold your applause, however, because the thing is about 4 miles wide.
For two days, the total was 311-of-312, with only Tom Pernice Jr. missing.
TIME TO TWEET: What do you do when they halt play because of strong wind? If you’re Tiger Woods, you march right into the locker room to escape the crowd, but if you’re Ian Poulter, you take your cell phone out of the golf bag and start making calls. Or tweeting, since he’s a major champion in that category.
TOUGH CHALLENGE, BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE: Some others will have a chance Saturday morning, but thus far in Round 2, only two players have birdied the par-4 17th: Ignacio Garrido and Sean O’Hair.
SMALL HOLE, TALL TASK: When play was halted because of high wind, the biggest concern was “the loop,” that area where Nos. 7 to 11 are exposed to St. Andrews Bay. The par-3 11th was especially brutal, thanks to a hole location that bordered on impossible.
When play resumed, 57 players went to the 11th, and the breakdown went like this: one birdie (take a bow, Stephen Gallacher), 27 pars, 24 bogeys, 5 double bogeys. It computes to a field average of 3.58.
LITTLE TO CHEER ABOUT: The very last group to go out Thursday had a rough time and didn’t improve in Round 2. When all was said and done, George McNeill, Simon Edwards and Jae-Bum Park were a combined 43 over par.