If you happened to catch both of the opening rounds of this year’s Open Championship, you would be hard-pressed to believe you were watching the same tournament.
Day one was a day full of sunshine, warm temperatures, and low scores. Phil Mickelson was certainly enjoying the weather on day one, he came within inches of making history in a major golf championship. However, day two was full of rain, cold and whipping winds, and much higher scores. For most, not named Mickelson, their experience of these two days could be summed up by Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” all in a 24-hour period.
This type of bi-polar weather pattern is nothing new to the Open Championship and is part of the fun as a fan. If you were lucky enough to play late in the day on Thursday, and then early in the morning Friday (like Phil did), you had a much easier go of it at Royal Troon. The rain is likely to go away this weekend, but the winds will still be blowing strong, which will make for an interested moving day on Saturday, and a very interesting finish Sunday afternoon.
Phil held strong on day two, firing a second-round 69 (-2) bringing him to -10 for the tournament to the pack. The low round of the day goes to Henrik Stenson, who shot a 65 (-6), bringing him into a lone second place, one shot behind Mickelson. These two will be paired in the last group on Saturday, with Soren Kjeldsen and Keegan Bradley staring up at them at -7. It will be interesting to see how they combat the weather in the afternoon, hold off other competitors, and hold onto and build upon their lead.
Some guys drew the short end of the stick this week and had a late afternoon tee time on Friday. Jason Day (-1 in the second round), Rory McIlroy (E), Ricky Fowler (+1), Jordan Spieth (+4), and Bubba Watson (+5) were all among the headliners that fought the elements in the afternoon. All five in this bunch will be playing into the weekend, with Speith and Watson barely getting in with each posting a +4 through 36 holes.
Mixing the golf course, the elements, and the nature of golf we are setting ourselves up for a great finish on Sunday afternoon. Can Phil hold on and win his second Open Championship? Or will someone rise from the back of the pack to overtake him? The answer to that is no one knows; and as fans, what more could we ask for?
NOTABLES TO MISS CUT (+4):
- Ernie Els +5
- Vijay Singh +6
- Shane Lowry +7
- Hideki Matsuyama +8
- Louis Oosthuizen +12