British Open 2018: Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood new favorites heading into weekend, with Jordan Spieth right behind
Carnoustie might not have its historical bite this week, but it continues to wreak havoc with gamblers. The pre-tournament favorite, Dustin Johnson, missed the cut, as did Jon Rahm, who was the new top dog after Thursday's first round. Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood will try to turn that tide on Saturday.
The English stars are listed as the revised favorites following two days of action at Carnoustie. Fleetwood, who turned in the round of the tournament on Friday with a six-under 65, is five under for the tournament and one back of the leaders. The 27-year-old, who holds the course record with a 63 at last year's Dunhill Links, will enter Saturday at 6-1 odds. Though he turned in a runner-up finish at Shinnecock, Fleetwood has not cracked the top 25 in four previous Open appearances. McIlroy's resume resides on the other end of the spectrum, with the Ulsterman winning the claret jug in 2014 to go with three additional top-five finishes. McIlroy, who posted his second consecutive 69, is currently tied for sixth and sits two back, and listed by bookmakers at 7-1.
Trailing behind Fleetwood and McIlroy is Jordan Spieth at 9-1. The reigning Open champion soared into contention on Friday afternoon with a sterling 67. Aside from last year's triumph at Royal Birkdale, Spieth owns another Open top-5 finish with a T-4 at St. Andrews in 2015. Though the three-time major winner has experienced his share of struggles this year, particularly on the green, Spieth has looked comfortable on the Carnoustie confines, with just 25 putts during Round 2.
Also at 9-1: 36-hole co-leader Zach Johnson. Another former Open winner, Johnson toured Carnoustie in 67 shots on Friday. We tend to look at his St. Andrews win as a one-off, but Johnson has a strong track record at the Open, finishing T-16 or better in eight of his last 11 appearances. With the firm and fast conditions alleviating some of his distance issues, Johnson should be a formidable force this weekend.
The sharps don't have the same faith in his co-leader, Kevin Kisner. The Day 1 leader doubled his final hole, yet still had a prosperous showing with a one-under 70. While the venerable links seems to fit his scrambling profile, Kisner had just one top 10 at a major in his career. Perhaps this inexperience is why bookmakers list his prospects at 14-1.
Matt Kuchar, who is in the exact same spot on the leader board as he was at Birkdale, is tagged at 18-1. As for Tiger Woods, who sits six shots back after running back 71, the 14-time major winner is listed at 50-1.
Other notables include Rickie Fowler—who is T-11 and three shots back—at 10-1, Tony Finau (-4) at 14-1, Xander Schauffele (-5) at 16-1 and Pat Perez (-5) at 22-1.