Today at the Open: Spieth clings on as wind batters BirkdaleJuly 21, 2017
NCG rounds up the very best of day two from Royal Birkdale as the weather gets the better of the field...
Wind and rain has caused the world’s best players a huge headache at Royal Birkdale today, with Jordan Spieth the only man venturing lower than the first-round target of 5-under.
James Broadhurst rounds up the best moments from day two…
So what happened?
Gusting winds and heavy rain provided a stern test for the field at Birkdale, resulting in only eight players breaking par for the round and just nine players in the red on the overall leaderboard.
American Spieth leads the way on 6-under par heading into the weekend after carding an solid 69 but his compatriot Matt Kuchar is breathing down his neck two strokes back.
Despite Speith’s lead, it’s anyone’s game with several big-name players, including Rory Mcllory, remaining in contention.
Mcllroy, after his early struggles yesterday, continued his comeback with a fine round of 68 to put himself at 1-under.
However, there was less luck for Phil Mickelson. He missed the cut, which fell at 5-over, for the first time since 2012 after a round of 77.
Feel-good moment of the day
Zach Johnson was at serious risk of missing the weekend’s action after carding a 5-over-par 75 on Thursday. But he came storming back today with a sensational 4-under 66 to move well within the cut line. He only hit 36 per cent of fairways but, crucially, his greens in regulation was 72 per cent.
Spare a thought for…
Phil Mickelson has missed the cut at the Open for the first time in five years (2012, Royal Lytham & St Annes).
His second round of 7-over included a crippling triple bogey on the 3rd hole and eight bogies.
After coming so close to his second Claret Jug last year, his 10-over-par total will come as another sickening blow.
Best shot of the day
Needing a birdie on the last to move the right side of the cut line, Chris Wood produced this with his second shot…
— The Open (@TheOpen) July 21, 2017
Worst shot of the day
The blowing wind was a huge issue for some players hitting their putts today. However, I’m not sure Adam Scott can blame the wind for missing a two-foot putt on the 3rd for a frustrating bogey.
Stats of the day
As far back as complete hole-by-hole data exists (20 years), nobody has won major starting +5 thru 6 holes. Rory (-7 last 14 holes) 3 back.
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) July 21, 2017
— PGA TOUR Media (@PGATOURmedia) July 21, 2017
Fascinating course stats for bores like me. All the hardest holes today are between the 6th and the 13th. Plus the 18th
— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyGolf) July 21, 2017
Photo of the day
When you manage to find the only tree on a links course.
Here’s Kevin Chappell on the 4th hole…
On a day of drab grey and black waterproofs, Spieth’s maroon number added a welcome touch of colour to proceedings.
Got dressed in the dark
Justin Thomas goes from best to worst…
Quote of the day
The champion at Birkdale in 1998, Mark O’Meara was today playing his last round at the Open Championship. The teary-eyed 60-year-old, who finished on 11 over par but was even par in his second round, said: “This is the one I always wanted to win. It doesn’t get any better.”
Okay, you can stop feeling smug. Anyone who took the 9/2 on Jordan Spieth is feeling very happy about life. His second round 69 has seen the bookies take another axe to his price.
If you want a piece of the American now, it’ll cost you around 7/4.
Rory McIlroy was the other big winner after his revival continued and the oddsmakers are running scared – some even putting him in as second favourite to Spieth.
On the value front, there’s a long way to go – and he has a history of messing up decent positions on the PGA Tour – but Gary Woodland is quietly manoeuvring himself for a charge.
Did you notice he’s shot 70 and 69 for his first two rounds? Neither have the firms. He’s 66/1 and tied 6th. Could he creep into the top 4? We’ll all get paid if he does.
For more from Royal Birkdale, check out our dedicated Open site.