OPEN GOLF: Tiger poised to pounce at LythamJuly, 2012 News & Tour
Tiger Woods is perfectly placed going into the weekend at the Open
TIGER WOODS is in perfect position to win his 15th Major title and fourth Open after holing a bunker shot at the 18th to leave him four shots off the pace.
Woods again played with great control and patience, dropping his only shot of the day at the par-5 11th. In 36 holes he has made only two bogeys, employing a strategy based largely on eliminating unnecessary risk.
“I’m very pleased at where I’m at,” said Woods. “We’re at the halfway point and I’m right there in the mix.
“With the weather that’s forecasted on Sunday and tomorrow, it’s going to be a good weekend.
“I figured I had a game plan that I thought would fit well on this golf course, and I figured I could execute it. And I’ve done that so far.
“It’s just patience on a golf course like this. I’m hitting the ball in the fairway, and that’s the thing you just have to do. You can’t control it out of the rough here. And obviously the pot bunkers you can’t do anything but come out sideways.”
“I’m very pleased at where I’m at – I’m right there in the mix." – Tiger Woods
The 36-year-old, who won his last Major in 2008, will head out in the penultimate group alongside Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.
The only two men behind them will be Brandt Snedeker, yet to drop a shot in the championship, and Adam Scott, who will start the day on -10 and -9.
Woods fired a second successive 67, a score bettered on the day by only two men.
One was Snedeker, from Tennessee, who had never made the cut at the Open before in three attempts. He added a flawless 64 to his opening 66 and is yert to visit any of Royal Lytham’s 206 bunkers.
Meanwhile Scott’s birdie at the 18th gave him a 67 to leave him just a shot behind as he continues his pursuit for a first Major title.
The only other player within five shots of the lead is Scotland’s Paul Lawrie.
The chasing pack is bunched and led by the likes of Graeme McDowell, Jason Dufner and Matt Kuchar. Experienced stars like Ernie Els, Luke Donald and Steve Stricker are all still in contention.
As for the rest of the home contingent, it was a frustrating day for both Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood. Both have survived until the weekend but at +2 and +3 respectively it is hard to make a compelling case for either of them featuring on Sunday afternoon.
England’s James Morrison is in the group at -2, one ahead of Simon Dyson, Simon Khan and Martin Laird, who has quietly made his way into the top 15.
Ian Poulter and Jamie Donaldson are the other British players not over par.
More calm conditions are predicted for Saturday but it seems likely to be a different story on the final day when gusts of up to 30mph may buffet the Lancashire coast.
Given the majority of the field’s difficulty to score well in serene conditions over much of the first two days, the leaderboard could well acquire a volatile quality come Sunday afternoon.