The second round of the 150th Open Championship featured a little bit of everything on Friday. I started with fansAs the main 15-time winner’s run in St Andrews may have ended with this week’s cuts. As he walked down the 18th fairway with a standing ovation, tears welled up in Woods’ eyes as he recalled his back-to-back accomplishments at home golf and the pre-game legends of saying a similarly warm farewell from the residents of St. Andrews.
The fans got back on their feet hours later, albeit for a different reason, as Cameron Smith signed 8-under 64 to set the record by hitting 36 holes for an Open Championship at the old court. Sitting at 13 under the championship, the long-haired Australian seemed to be in complete control of his game as he pitted 12 birds and an eagle against just one ghost during his first two rounds.
Then you have Rory McIlroy, who while still searching for his first major since 2014, has positioned himself in an exceptionally strong position in this Open Championship. McIlroy has been playing in one of the last pairs of the day and is now sitting just three strokes behind Smith as he enters Moving Day.
Five of the last six 36-hole leaders at The Open went on to win, and Smith must put in a fantastic effort over the weekend to continue that trend. Meanwhile, each of the other seven winners of the St Andrews Open were T4 or better after two rounds with 14 of the last 15 sitting three shots off the lead after 36 holes.
This is the distribution of the rest of the Leaderboard in Unlock 150.
1. Cameron Smith (-13): How do you backup a 5 under 67 in St Andrews? Well, with an 8-under-64 card the next day and set the record 36 holes for an Open Championship at the old court. Smith has been incredible during the first two rounds, and his touches on and around the green prove she is a serious team-maker. For the player who only caused the bulk of the damage to his major tournament at the Augusta National, Smith took exactly what works in the Masters and put it into this year’s Open.
“I think I’ve always been a good player in difficult circumstances,” Smith said. “I think most Australians are, for a reason. I think we all grew up being smart golfers, and we hit them off the pin sometimes. And that serves us well, I think, at the big tournaments and when conditions get tough.”
2 – Cameron Young (-11): The Open’s first rookie started his second round with a bit of a nerve when he made a bogey on the second hole of the day. While sleeping on the lead after the 8-under 64 launch Thursday, Young was expected to show some distress. He quickly cleared up any sort of uneasiness he might have and kept going forward on Friday with a round of 3-under 69. Young has been hovering on the leaderboard for most of 2022 and a breakthrough always seemed imminent. While most of them would have referred to a regular PGA Tour event at this moment, playing him in the PGA Tour probably should have led to this instead.
“I’m second, I’d rather be second than ten,” said an unmotivated young man. “You’re going to have to play some good golf over the weekend regardless. So obviously it’s a good idea to start there, at least.”
T3. Rory McIlroy and Victor Hovland (-10): There is a bit of a Spiderman meme going on with these two while Hovland reminds me of a young McIlroy somewhat. Playing freely with a wide smile and too innocent or oblivious to the danger around every corner, Hovland played a major championship rivalry for the first time in his career. However, in order to achieve success, the two will need to exchange places where Hovland can use more patience and discipline and give McIlroy more freedom. If they have to do it effectively, both players have the firepower to catch Cameroon in front of them and head into the final 18 holes with the lead.
5 – Dustin Johnson (-9): The two-time main winner has been consistent with his 36-hole opening, and as a result, he’s heading into the weekend with a chance to snatch his third main title. Although Johnson doesn’t appear on TV much these days, he came to The Open after finishing 25th with two top-10 finishes at LIV Golf. He’s done a lot on the old court, and this week looks no different. Johnson, the 18-hole and 36-hole holder in the 2015 Open, finished with 75 consecutive innings. He is hoping for a massive improvement this weekend.
“I really love the golf course,” Johnson said. “I like it when you play hard and fast like that. You have to really think about your way around it, sort of on every shot – where you try to throw it, where you want your ball to stop. Obviously, sometimes it’s really hard to do. I feel like I’ve done a good job. Really for the first few days. I want to do more of it over the weekend.”
T6. Scotty Scheffler and Terrell Hutton (-8): Just like the US Open, the world number one arrived at St Andrews flying with a little reputation under the radar. Missing the chops on his final start at the Scottish Open, Schaeffler is back to normal after scoring in straight runs of 68. He will start the weekend with five strokes off Smith’s lead but prove comfortable coming back from a large margin as his wins emerged at the Phoenix Open and the Arnold Palmer Invitational On weekend tours.
“Inclusive [I’m] Just stay in position. “I think this morning I did a good job managing my swing,” Scheffler said. Then, once we turned around, I did a good swing on a nine, after which I hit most of my shots close to the way I wanted to. I’m very happy with the way I played.”
T8. Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott, Taylor Gotch and Seth Thegala (-7): The PGA Tour Player of the Year has been a fixture on the leaderboards this season yet still without a single win. Lifting the trophy alongside Xander Shaveli in the Zurich Classic, Cantlay also achieved six places in the top five in 2022, including last week at the Scottish Open. Despite his persistence, there are those who criticize Cantlay for not keeping up with his talent level with production in the major tournaments. This week will see his best chance yet to grab one of the Big Four as he came up with a bit of momentum after finishing in the top 15 at the US Open and is on hand.
T12. Matt Fitzpatrick and five others (-6): The US Open Champion’s best open end is a tie for 20, but you wouldn’t know that based on his playing in the second round on the Old Course. Alongside Woods on an emotional day at golf, Fitzpatrick held his ground and signed a 6-under-66 contract to throw himself into the fray. If the Englishman somehow manages to make it happen, he will join Bobby Jones, Gene Sarrazin, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson Woods as players to complete the US Open double that same year.
“I feel different,” Fitzpatrick said of being a lead champ. “I can compete, and I can win. It was definitely a positive. It doesn’t hold me back. It’s not something I get nervous about. I have to show myself a little bit more. Yeah, you just gave me that extra confidence, I guess.”
T18. Xander Shaveli and five others (-5): The most exciting man in golf came to St. Andrews after winning his last two games and was in good shape after the opening with a 3-under 69. Shaveli made a birdie on two of his first five holes on Friday and looked as if he could put his volley stamp on This tournament. Instead, his easy shots at the ninth-grade 4 and 12-second tier squandered any momentum as he finished the 2-under-70 round.
T24. Jordan Spieth, John Ram, Will Zalatores and eight others (-4): Beating nine strokes over 36 holes might be too much, but we’ve seen crazier things happen in the majors – just look at the PGA Championship. These players would need to be flawless, and someone like Spieth would have to kick himself considering the way he finished his second round. Having earned a 5-under after becoming a 4-under-32, the 2017 Golfer of the Year Champion had a legitimate chance of finding a 7-under with short flying efforts on the 10 and 12. Leaving those opportunities in play, Spieth played his last six holes in the 1 on and probably out of this tournament.
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