Friday's Birdies And Bogeys
July 19, 2012
Birdie: Brandt SnedekerThough he won earlier this year at Torrey Pines, the Vanderbilt product entered this week as a 150-to-1 longshot to win, and for good reason. In three previous British Opens, Snedeker had not only failed to qualify for the weekend, he had never broken par. But perhaps we should have known things would be different this week when he made an albatross in a practice round on Wednesday. That might not have counted, but the magic stayed with him, as Snedeker followed up an opening-round 66 with a second round in which he flirted with a 62. After six-straight pars to close, he had to settle for 64, but his bogey-free performance through two days was still enough to match Nick Faldo's British Open 36-hole record of 130.
Bogey: Rory McIlroyLike Nicolas Colsaerts, Rory McIlroy turned in a dud one day after a composed 67, leaving him precariously close to missing the cut. His second round was anything but consistent, with two birdies, five bogeys, and a double. Still, he was even par through eight before his self-described "unraveling" at the par-3 ninth. Landing in the greenside bunker, McIlory took two to get out en route to a double-bogey 5, making the turn at two-over. He wouldn't birdie again, finishing his day at five-over 75. Coming off a missed cut at the U.S. Open -- one of four missed cuts in his last five tournaments -- the short-lived No. 1 player in the world is still very much searching for his game.
Birdie: Tiger WoodsFor a second-straight day, Woods played carefully -- and accurately -- from tee to green. The three-time British Open champ has missed just two fairways over the first two days, while hitting more than 80 percent of greens in regulation. But one of those errant approach shots wound up resulting in perhaps the highlight of the week thus far. Tiger found a greenside bunker on the finishing hole, but he jarred his third shot for birdie to shoot another 67 and put him in the hunt heading into the weekend for a second consecutive major. And don't think everyone else in the field doesn't notice. As Graeme McDowell joked following his own strong round, "Obviously, that guy in third is a decent player ..."
Bogey: Phil MickelsonAt last year's Open, Lefty said he was embracing links golf and all that came with it. The fresh attitude worked as he finished runner-up at Royal St. George's. This year, not so much. After a wild first round, Mickelson struggled even more on Friday despite calm conditions that should have played to his advantage. A 78 left him seven shots outside the cut line and in front of just a handful of players in the 156-man field.
Birdie: Adam ScottAfter Brandt Snedeker tied Scott's record-tying opening round early on Friday morning, Scott responded with an afternoon 67 that created a two-horse race heading into the weekend. Despite finding himself one shot off the lead, Scott's first two rounds should not be downplayed; his 36-hole total of 131 is one-off the British Open record, now shared between Snedeker and Nick Faldo, and puts him in prime-position to land his first major victory.
Bogey: ColsaertsA day after chasing history with a five-under 65, Colsaerts imploded. He didn't exactly get off to an amazing start with back-to-back bogeys on the second and third holes, but it was the normally-easy par-5 seventh where he completely unraveled. After hitting the greenside rough with his approach shot, Colsaerts became a highlight reel for the havoc British Open hazards can wreak. He chunked his first attempt, advancing the ball about 10-feet into even deeper rough. Unable to see his ball, Colsaerts completely whiffed on his fifth shot. He would skull his third attempt over the green before getting up-and-down for a triple bogey 8, sending him to a 77 and a 36-hole total of two over.
Birdie: Tough hole locationsUsually, we'd take the R&A to task for pin placements tough enough to get mild-mannered Steve Stricker -- among others -- to complain. However, with little wind and unusually-soft greens, tricky hole locations on Day 2 became the main reason why the players didn't turn Royal Lytham & St. Annes into a pitch-and-putt. Well, for everyone other than Brandt Snedeker, of course ...
Birdie: Mark CalcavecchiaEvery year an old guy seems to be in the mix at the British Open, and 2012 seems to be the 52-year-old Calcavecchia's turn. The 1989 Open champion's two-under 68 has landed him in red numbers heading into the weekend, which maybe was more than expected for a man who said he was just here to pass the time before next week's Senior British. Even his bogey on 18 was cool, as he purposely hit his approach shot into the grandstand so he could receive a drop with a clean shot to the green. Calcavecchia may be nine strokes off the lead, but the chase for oldest major winner always plays for good weekend theater.
Bogey: Bubba WatsonWe praised Watson for staying disciplined on Thursday, but after holding it together for four holes on Friday, the reigning Masters champ completely fell apart. Watson went bogey-bogey-triple bogey to fall from T-6 to T-49. He climbed back into the top 30 by day's end, but with a 10-shot deficit entering the weekend, his quest to become the first player to win multiple majors in the same year since Padraig Harrington in 2008 will have to rely on next month's PGA Championship.
Bogey: Zach JohnsonFollowing Nicolas Colsaert's lead, Johnson threw away his solid Thursday position to fall nine strokes behind the leader. Johnson started strong with a birdie on the first hole, but as was the case for many playing Royal Lytham on Friday, one bad hole derailed his day. A double-bogey 6 on the par-4 fourth began a stretch that included four more bogeys over the last 12 holes. Despite a four-over 74 on the day, ZJ is still in red numbers and can finish an impressive two-week run with a strong showing over the weekend.
Birdie: Jason DufnerJason Dufner's incredible 2012 continued with a Friday 66. Actually, forget the year, let's just examine his last five starts before the British Open: If you take out the Players Championship, where he finished T-68, Dufner has two wins, one second place finish, and a T-4 at the U.S. Open. In fact, the current seventh-ranked player in the world has now found himself in the top five of the past four majors, including his current T-4 position at the Open. Although he's been flying under the radar of late, it will be hard to remain in the shadows if he continues to fire rounds of four under over the weekend.
Birdie: Matt KucharThe remarkably-steady Kuchar has always been a consistent performer at the Open Championship as well -- just in a bad way. In seven appearances, he's stayed around for the weekend just once, a T-27 at St. Andrews in 2010. But like Snedeker, Kuchar seems set on reversing his negative trend this week. A 67 has him T-3 heading into the weekend. He picked up the biggest win of his pro career at the Players earlier this year. Maybe a real major is next.