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Live notes: Round 2
Keep refreshing this page all day long, as our crew in Southport will keep you abreast of all the latest happenings at the 137th Open Championship.
All times Eastern
COMEBACK FOR COLIN: To say Colin Montgomerie had his knickers in a twist probably was an understatement. He had just tripled the fifth hole and made a double on No. 6 Friday afternoon.
He was 10 over and staring at an early exit from the tournament the much-maligned Scot prizes so much. Things changed dramatically, though, when Montgomerie nearly holed a 5-iron on the par-3 seventh.
"I thought, okay, we can do this, I'm back to 9 over now, and the cut will be around about that," Montgomerie said, adding he felt like he needed at least one more birdie. Instead, he made two and offset a bogey at the 16th to shoot 75 and finish at 8 over.
"At the end of the day, I'm quite proud that I managed to play the last 12 holes in 2 under feeling the way I did walking off the sixth green, because that wasn't a great feeling, believe me."
Montgomerie, whose best finish in 18 Opens came in a second-place showing at St. Andrews in 2005, admittedly trails K.J. Choi by nine strokes. With winds expected to gust nearly 50 mph on Saturday, though, the 45-year-old feels he's still in the hunt.
"The weather forecast is awful, and if you get out early, which of course I'm doing, and you can score a Camilo Villegas, you get into position," Montgomerie said, referring to the young Colombian's brilliant 65 Friday morning. -- Helen Ross, 5:36 p.m.
GREENS ARE GOOD: Robert Allenby, who is tied with six other players at 2 over, hsa prospered this week by finding fairways and greens.
He's hit 64.3 percent of his fairways and 25 of 36 greens. The latter effort ties the Aussie with Jim Furyk and Anthony Kim for first in that category.
Allenby has led three other tournaments in greens in regulation, was second in three others and ranked in the top five in nine total events.
Of the ones he led, Allenby tied for 14th at the PODS Championship, shared second at the Stanford St. Jude Championship and tied for third at the AT&T National. -- Helen Ross, 5:34 p.m.
THE CUT LINE: A total of 83 players made the 36-hole cut at the 137th Open Championship, which came at 9-over-par 149. Among the notables who will not be around for the weekend are: 1999 champ Paul Lawrie, Stewart Cink, five-time champion Tom Watson and Aaron Baddeley. All four players missed it by one shot at 10 over.
Mark O'Meara, the 1998 champion at Birkdale, also missed the cut. He was at 11 over along with Charles Howell III, Brandt Snedeker, Mark Calcavecchia, Vijay Singh and Geoff Ogilvy. John Daly, a winner in 2005 at St. Andrews, finished tied for last at 29 over.
Davis Love III, Ernie Els, Andres Romero, Lucas Glover, Lee Westwood and Paul Casey all survived the cut on the number, while Phil Mickelson used a late rally to fire a 2-under 68 on Friday for a 7-over total. -- T.J. Auclair, 5:07 p.m.
PHIL'S STILL FIGHTING: Phil Mickelson may be eight shots back going into the weekend, but at least he's still in the fight.
The World No. 2 thought there was a 64 or 65 on the course Friday and there was a 65 -- by Camilo Villegas. As for Mickelson? He birdied two of the last five holes to shoot 68 and settle in at 7-over par after 36 holes.
Not bad after an opening 79.
"You know, the front nine is a lot tougher to score on than the back," said Mickelson, who birdied the 18th for his 68. "The back, you've got a couple par‑5s. There's one -- I hit a good shot on 5, which is a birdie hole. I hit a driver and had an L-wedge in and almost made it, but the pin was right on a ridge, it was right on a tier, and as it went by the hole, it went another 12, 15 feet.
"The holes that were birdiable on the front nine had very funky pins and it was hard for me to get it in without making a 30-footer, which I didn't exactly do. The back nine there were a lot of birdies, though."
Now that he?s made the cut, Mickelson wouldn?t mind if forecasters were correct and it blew 45 mph Saturday.
"I need it. I mean, I need serious weather. I need those guys to struggle. It would be nice if it waited until around 2:00 tomorrow to do that," he said, drawing a laugh. "We're going to need some luck. I'm going to need some luck. But I'm still in it, I'm still fighting, I still have a chance, and that's all I could ask for heading into the day."
As for that birdie at 18? "You know, again, one shot difference on Friday might not mean a lot by Sunday," he said, "but it certainly could in my ability to stay in the tournament." -- Melanie Hauser, 4:22 p.m.
ON THE LINE: Ernie Els battled back from an opening 80, and managed to make the cut on the number.
The 2002 champion bogeyed the 18th hole to finish with a 69 and settle in at 9 over.
Els has never missed the cut as a professional at an Open Championship. He did miss the cut in 1989 when he played as an amateur. Since then, he has finished no lower than a tie for 23rd (2005) and has eight top-10 finishes in addition to his playoff win at Muirfield.
-- Melanie Hauser, 3:08 p.m.
MORE PRAISE FOR NORMAN: Justin Rose grew up watching Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo. So when Greg Norman grabbed the lead Friday morning, Rose wasn't surprised.
"He's got the body of a 23-year-old and the head of a 53-year-old," Rose said. "That's a good combination. I'm impressed with every part of his game. His short game is sharp.
"He's a very flamboyant player. He's a fun player to watch.".
Another player that isn't fazed? Tom Watson, at 58, the oldest player in the field..
"Greg is a great wind player," Watson said. "He's played two of the finest rounds of golf I've ever seen around here at Turnberry and Sandwich, when he won those two tournaments. He can just dominate a golf course in the worst of conditions. He's a great bad-weather player..
"Tomorrow it's supposed to blow like crazy, so he'll still be in this tournament." -- Melanie Hauser, 2:44 p.m.
WHAT MAY COME: The second-round leader has gone on to win 12 of 28 stroke-play events on the 2008 PGA TOUR.
Dating back to the 1968 Open Championship, the 36-hole leader has prevailed 15 times in 40 attempts (most recently Tiger Woods in 2006).
In eight previous Open Championships held at Royal Birkdale, Lee Trevino (1971) is the only 36-hole leader/co-leader to eventually step into the winner's circle. All of the previous first-round leaders/co-leaders at Royal Birkdale are listed below with eventual finish:
-- John Bush, 2:22 p.m.
THE NEW LEADER: Who said the players with the early/late draw were at a disadvantage? It sure looked that way on Thursday morning with the whipping winds and the rain coming down sideways.
But K.J. Choi persevered. He put together a solid 2-over 72. Then, in the second round while everyone was swooning over Greg Norman, Choi crashed the party.
The South Korean played late on Friday, birdied his final two holes for a 3-under 67 and took sole possession of the lead at 1 under -- one shot clear of Norman.
Choi has four top-10 finishes in major championships, including a tie for eighth last year at Carnoustie. He has seven wins on the PGA TOUR and is ranked No. 11 in the world. See his scorecard. -- T.J. Auclair, 2:01 p.m.
FIGHTING FOR BRAGGING RIGHTS: Greg Norman and his bride, tennis great Chris Evert, have each had Hall of Fame careers.
Both were No. 1 in their respective games. Evert, though, has the edge in Grand Slams with 18, including a record seven at the French Open. Her husband, with 78 tournament victories worldwide, still only has two majors, both coming at the Open Championship, as well as a number of heart-breaking close calls.
"No, I'm not trying to get caught up," Norman said as 100 or so reporters chuckled. "She's also won about 154 tournaments. I wish I had her level of success. She's won 91 per cent of the matches she's ever played. If I won 91 percent of the time I went out there and played the game of golf, I'd be pretty good I would say. No, we don't try and compare what we've done on or off the tennis court."
FLASH OF BRILLIANCE: David Duval hasn't exactly been setting golf courses ablaze in recent years.
Take 2008 for a small sample. He's made 12 starts. In those 12 starts, Duval has withdrawn once, missed the cut 10 times and his best finish of the season was a tie for 60th at the Stanford St. Jude Championship.
So, the fact that Duval is currently tied for second at the Open Championship makes about as much sense as Rocco Mediate taking Tiger Woods to 19 holes in a U.S. Open playoff. But, hey, it happened.
Duval has famously, and sadly, completely lost the game that made him the world's No. 1 player less than a decade ago.
His last win was the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Shortly thereafter his game pulled a Houdini and completely disappeared.
Whether it's magic dust or just some good, ole English cookin', Duval is among a long list of players making unimaginable runs at Royal Birkdale this week.
Duval shot a 3-over 73 on Thursday, which was only four shots off the lead at the time.
Today, he's 2 under through 11 holes after back-to-back birdies at Nos. 10 and 11 and just one shot off the lead. See his scorecard. -- T.J. Auclair, 1:14 p.m.
WHAT WRIST INJURY? If Padraig Harrington is still feeling the effects of a wrist injury that nearly put him out of this tournament, we'd never know it.
The defending "champion golfer of the year" played his final four holes at 4 under Friday and now sits just two shots back of leader Greg Norman. See his scorecard. -- Mark Spoor, 1:11 p.m.
GETTING THE HANG OF IT? K.J. Choi
is making his ninth appearance at the Open Championship. The first seven were, well, less that he had hoped for (his best finish during that time was a tie for 16th at Troon in 2004). However, last year at Carnoustie, Choi notched his first top-10 when he tied for eighth.
He looks to be improving again.
Choi has two birdies and one bogey through 14 holes Friday and he now tied with Camilo Villegas for second at 1 over, just one shot back of leader Greg Norman. See his scorecard. -- Mark Spoor, 12:44 p.m.
TAKE A LOOK BACK: Greg Norman has had quite a history when it comes to major championships. Take
a trip through time with our special Norman in the Majors
photo gallery. -- 12:11 p.m.
ON THE LAM: Lam Chih Bing produced a slice of history at the British Open when he became the first Singaporean to qualify for the weekend.
The Asian Tour stalwart overcame a nightmarish start at Royal Birkdale when he triple-bogeyed his opening hole but fought back with late birdies on the 15th and 17th holes to sign for a five-over-par 75 and a two-day total of seven-over-par 147.
"It was such a rollercoaster today. So many things that could have gone wrong went wrong. I got off to a nightmarish start but I knew that I could make some birdies coming in on the par fives," said Lam.
"I hope to play well this weekend and hope my performance here will be a boost for golf in Singapore."
After an opening 72 which left him only three shots off the lead, Lam's second round got off to the worst possible start when he hit a wild approach shot into the galleries. Three attempted chips and two putts later, Lam was staggering off with a costly seven.
Another bogey on the third saw him staring at an early trip home to Singapore but Lam fought back gallantly. He accumulated four birdies against four more bogeys to safely make the halfway cut which was projected at 8 over. -- Chuah Choo Chiang, Asian Tour, 11:50 a.m.
HERE COMES VERPLANK: Don't look now, but Scott Verplank is making a run.
Through 10 holes in the trecherous afternoon wave, Verplank is yet to make bogey. He's also made birdies on Nos. 1, 7 and 10 to pull into the top 20 after starting the day tied for 91st. -- Mark Spoor, 11:39 a.m.
MAKING THE MOST OF IT: No one can ever accuse Heath Slocum of not taking advantage of his opportunity.
|Villegas fires 65|
|Rocco rolling along|
|Furyk finds right flight|
|Q&A: TNT's Baker-Finch|
Slocum got into the Open Championship only yesterday when Toru Taniguchi withdrew due to a bad back. After shooting 73 on Thursday, he has started his round birdie, par on Friday to get within two shots of leader Greg Norman.
Slocum hasn't missed a cut in his last 15 TOUR starts. It will likely be 16 after today. It may also be three career victories after Sunday. -- Mark Spoor, 10:33 a.m.
AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE: Adam Scott will start the weekend at Royal Birkdale the same way he spent most of his childhood -- looking up to fellow Aussie Greg Norman.
After an even-par 70 that him tied with Norman just one shot back of the leaders on Thursday, Scott wasn't quite as sharp on Friday. He shot a 4-over-par 74 in the second round and if the lead doesn't change this afternoon, he'll be four shots behind Norman.
"It's a bit disappointing not to play better," Scott said. "I struggled with the swing and the putting. I got the better side of the draw and didn't take full advantage of that."
And how about Norman?
"It's fantastic," Scott said. "He's probably the most experienced player at this point in contention and he certainly knows how to get it done on there types of courses. When he was 1 under through nine and I was still around the mark I was trying to get myself up there so I could maybe play with him over the weekend. That would have been awesome -- paired with him late in an Open at the weekend would be great. I'll have to play well tomorrow and hopefully catch him on Sunday." -- T.J. Auclair, 9:43 a.m.
|Adam Scott at the Open Championship|
|Year||Venue||Finish||Score to par|
|2006||Royal Liverpool Golf Club||T-8||-9|
|2005||Old Course at St. Andrews||T-34||-2|
|2004||Royal Troon G.C.||T-42||+6|
|2003||Royal St. George's G.C.||CUT||+14|
|2001||Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C.||T-47||+4|
|2000||Old Course at St. Andrews||CUT||+3|
VAST IMPROVEMENT: Retief Goosen has six top-10s at the Open Championship, but none at Royal Birkdale.
in Goosen's only other career appearance at this course, he missed the cut in 1998 after shooting 74-76.
This time around, he started with an 1-over 71 on Thursday and is at even par today through five holes. -- Mark Spoor, 9:31 a.m.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: If you weren't up at the crack of dawn this morning to see Greg Norman's even-par 70 or Camilo Villegas' record-breaking 65, you can catch it all later this afternoon when TNT re-airs its second-round coverage from Royal Birkdale. Stay with us through the day for the exact time. -- Mark Spoor, 8:57 a.m.
HOW GOOD WAS IT? How good was Camilo Villegas' 65 in the second round?
Well, only five players have shot lower at Royal Birkdale in the seven previous Opens held there. And Villegas' round of 5 under was the best in any second round.
|Lowest second rounds at Birkdale|
|Lowest overall rounds at Birkdale|
-- Helen Ross, John Bush, 8:25 a.m.
STRONG START FOR WEIR: Canadian Mike Weir starts today's second round in a couple of minutes. When he tees off, he'll be one shot back of leader Greg Norman. He's competed in nine Open Championships, but this is his first at Royal Birkdale:
|2003||Royal St. George's||T-28||+8|
|2001||Royal Lytham & St. Annes||CUT||+8|
-- Mark Spoor, 8:14 a.m.
FINISHING WITH A FLOURISH: For the second or third time in Friday's second round, Greg Norman silenced those who may have been thinking the Cinderella story may be ending.
On the finishing hole, Norman erased a first putt that went well past the hole on to the fringe by making a spectacular putt on the way back to save par -- for the hole, the round and the tournament. He currently sits one shot clear of Camilo Villegas, who shot a 65 Thursday, and later starters Mike Weir and Retief Goosen. See his scorecard. -- Mark Spoor, 7:40 a.m.
MAKE IT FIVE: When we last checked in with Camilo Villegas he had made three birdies in a row on the back nine. We need to change that now. Make it five in a row -- the last five holes on the course, specifically.
Thanks to the five-birdie finish, the energetic, flashy dresser climbed the leaderboard like Spiderman climbs a building, which is fitting seeing as that's Villegas' nickname on the PGA TOUR.
Villegas started the second round in a tie for 74th, but after a tournament-best 5-under 65, he was tied for second. -- T.J. Auclair, 7:23 a.m.
NICE RECOVERY: Camilo Villegas is having a much better time on Friday than he did on Thursday -- so far.
Villegas struggled to a 6-over 76 in the opening round and his first appearance in the Open Championship.
He's bouncing back beautifully in the second round. The Colombian started the day with bogeys on Nos. 1 and 2, but canceled them quickly with three front-nine birdies to make the turn at 1 under.
Villegas took a bogey on No. 13, but then rattled off a string of three birdies. He's 3 under through 16 holes and 3 over for the championship, right back in the mix. See his scorecard. -- T.J. Auclair, 6:56 a.m.
ELDEST STATESMAN? Greg Norman currently leads the 137th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale by one stroke. Should he win on Sunday, the striking Aussie would be the oldest major champion at the age of 53 years, 5 months and 11 days.
The current oldest? The late Julius Boros. He was 48 years, 4 months and 18 days old when he won the 1968 PGA Championship.
Here's a look at the top-10 oldies but goodies:
|Julius Boros||48 years, 4 months, 18 days||1968 PGA Championship|
|Tom Morris Sr.||46 years, 3 months, 9 days||1867 Open Championship|
|Jack Nicklaus||46 years, 2 months, 23 days||1986 Masters|
|Jerry Barber||45 years, 3 months, 6 days||1961 PGA Championship|
|Hale Irwin||45 years, 15 days||1990 U.S. Open|
|Lee Trevino||44 years, 8 months, 18 days||1984 PGA Championship|
|Roberto de Vicenzo||44 years, 3 months, 3 days||1967 Open Championship|
|Raymond Floyd||43 years, 9 months, 11 days||1986 U.S. Open|
|Ted Ray||43 years, 4 months, 16 days||1920 U.S. Open|
|Julius Boros||43 years, 3 months, 20 days||1963 U.S. Open|
-- Helen Ross, 6:44 a.m.
BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES: Trust us, Thursday was miserable with driving rain, bone-chilling temperatures and 30 mph winds whipping across the sand dunes beside the Irish Sea.
|More Open Championship:|
|Pairings and Tee Times|
Smart people were probably sitting in a pub having a pint of Guinness or a wee dram of Scotch. There were 36,500 hearty souls, though, who braved the elements at Royal Birkdale to watch the first round of the 137th Open Championship.
Brollys -- that's what they call umbrellas across the pond -- were selling briskly in the Merchandise Pavillion, So were cashmere jumpers, i.e. sweaters, and all-weather jackets.
They'd better stock up, too. More rain is due to arrive on Friday afternoon and continue throughout the night. Winds will gust to 35 mph and then sustained, strong winds up to 45 mph -- we're talking tropical-storm caliber -- will invade the area Friday night. -- Helen Ross, 6:18 a.m.
NOT BAD, JEAN: Jean Van de Velde is already through with his second round and finds himself in pretty good standing.
Van de Velde, forever to be remembered for his wet triple-bogey 7 on the final hole of the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie, fired a 1 over 71 on Friday despite a double-bogey, ahem, 7 on No. 17. He's at 4 over for the championship, five shots back of the current lead. See his scorecard. -- Mark Spoor, 6:14 a.m.
THE POWER OF SIX: It appears that if you are going to win the Open Championship, you'll need to at least par the par-4 sixth. A total of 23 players double-bogeyed the hole at Royal Birkdale on Thursday, tying the most double bogeys on one hole at a major over the last 25 years.
There have four previous instances of 23 double bogeys, most recently at the 2003 British Open Championship at the par-4 eighth hole.
Incidentally, Greg Norman, the current tournament leader, made double on the sixth today. Learn about the hole. -- Mark Spoor, 6:01 a.m.
COMEBACK KID: All it took was one hole for the Greg Norman Show at Royal Birkdale to come to a close -- at least that's what everyone was thinking.
Norman took a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 sixth hole and it looked like the feel-good Shark story was about to be netted and thrown on the grill.
But, not so fast.
Norman bounced back with back-to-back birdies immediately to cancel out the hiccup and took sole possession of the lead at 1 under, one shot clear of Adam Scott, Fredrik Jacobson and Peter Hanson. Look at Norman's scorecard
-- T.J. Auclair, 5:31 a.m.
ROCCO'S ROLL: You can call it momentum, you can call it confident -- whatever you want to call it, there's no doubt that Rocco Mediate has been spectacular over the last two months.
It all started with a tie for sixth at the Memorial Tournament presented by Morgan Stanley. Prior to that, Mediate's best finish in 2008 was a tie for 36th. Take out that tie for 36th and his next best finish was a mediocre tie for 50th.
Suddenly, something clicked at Jack Nicklaus' place in Dublin, Ohio. Mediate rode the high finish into the U.S. Open where -- as we all know -- he nearly pulled of the unthinkable, taking no less than Tiger Woods to 19 holes in a playoff before finally giving in.
Hard as it might be to believe, Rocco might actually be getting more attention for his runner up finish than Tiger is getting for his win. Probably has a lot to do with Tiger being on the shelf though.
Either way, Rocco keeps plugging away. He had a tie for 28th at the Buick Open followed by a tie for 18th at the AT&T National. Through 27 holes this week, Mediate is right at the top of the leaderboard again -- this time at the Open Championship.
Mediate was one of only three players in the field to break par in the opening round, sharing the lead with Graeme Storm and Robert Allenby after a 1-under-par 69.
Mediate is off to a nice start in round 2. He made bogey on the par-4 sixth hole, which played as the most difficult in round 1, but immediately bounced back with a birdie at No. 7 to right the ship, shoot even par on the outward nine and maintain his position at 1 under.
In eight prior Open starts, Mediate's best finish is a tie for 18th. That happened at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 1996. In his only other start at Royal Birkdale in 1991, Mediate missed the cut. -- T.J. Auclair, 4:22 a.m.
WELCOME BACK, SHARK: Until this week, Greg Norman hadn't played in an Open Championship since 2005 at St. Andrews where he finished in a tie for 60th.
In case you were wondering, Norman simply chose not to play in 2006 and 2007. As a past champion, the 53-year-old Shark is eligible to compete in the Open until he turns 60 years old.
Below is a chart detailing Norman's Open career:
|Year||Venue||Finish||Score to par|
|2005||Old Course at St. Andrews||T-60||+1|
|2004||Royal Troon G.C.||CUT||+7|
|2003||Royal St. George's G.C.||T-18||+6|
|1997||Royal Troon G.C.||T-36||+3|
|1996||Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C.||T-7||-7|
|1995||Old Course at St. Andrews||T-15||-1|
|1994||Turnberry (Ailsa Course)||T-11||-4|
|1993||Royal St. George's G.C.||Win||-13|
|1991||Royal Birkdale G.C.||T-9||-1|
|1990||Old Course at St. Andrews||T-6||-11|
|1989||Royal Troon G.C.||T-2||-13|
|1986||Turnberry (Ailsa Course)||Win||Even|
|1985||Royal St. George's G.C.||T-16||+7|
|1984||Old Course at St. Andrews||T-6||-6|
|1983||Royal Birkdale G.C.||T-19||-1|
|1982||Royal Troon G.C.||T-27||+8|
|1981||Royal St. George's G.C.||T-31||+11|
|1979||Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C.||T-10||+8|
|1978||Old Course at St. Andrews||T-29||+3|
|1977||Turnberry (Ailsa Course)||CUT||+14|
-- T.J. Auclair, 4:15 a.m.
WEATHER REPORT: The weather was far more pleasant at the start of Friday's second round of the 137th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale compared to Thursday.
And by "pleasant" we mean the rain wasn't coming down sideways with howling winds. The sky was still a thick, gloomy gray, but the rain was just a light sprinkle and there wasn't mush more than a breath of wind -- at least for these parts.
Early indications seem as though the players with late tee times on Thursday and early tee times on Friday certainly had an incredible luck of the draw.
The weathered simmered down nicely for the players who teed off Thursday afternoon and then they were also fortunate to wake up to relatively benign conditions for the early call on Friday.
Frenchman Jean Van de Velde had started at 6:30 local time this morning -- the first tee time of the day -- and shot a 1-under 33 on the front nine.
Two-time Open champion Greg Norman birdied his first hole out of the gate to get to 1 under for the championship and in a share of the lead with Rocco Mediate. First-round co-leaders Graeme McDowell and Robert Allenby each made an early bogey.
Friday's forecast is calling for light rain throughout the day with wind speeds hitting 15 mph and temperatures in the low 60s.-- T.J. Auclair, 3:56 a.m.