Unnecessary on Thursday, umbrellas were all but mandatory on Friday. (Franklin/Getty Images)
Weather change makes Day 2 a completely different game
The 'Open weather' that everyone expects rolled in on Friday, and immediately had a big effect. Gone were Thursday's low scores, replaced by lots of scuffling from even the game's best players.
By T.J. Auclair, PGA.com Interactive Producer
TURNBERRY, Scotland -- The Open Championship weather that everyone knows, loves and expects, but had been conspicuously absent, finally showed up in full force at Turnberry on Friday.
Thursday was calm and sunny, which the players loved, as evidenced by all the low scores and highlighted by Miguel Angel Jimenez’s leading 6-under 64. That tied an Open record for lowest opening-round score.
Friday, however, was a different story. Wool hats replaced baseball caps. Players slipped into rain gear and were armed with umbrellas as the wind, which gusted up to 25 mph, and rain swept off the Irish Sea and hung around for most of the day.
Ben Curtis, who fired a 5-under 65 in Round 1, was one of the early starters on Friday. To understand the change in conditions, one need not look further than the 2003 Open Champion’s scorecard, as he followed up the 65 with a mind-boggling 10-over 80 to miss the cut by one at 5 over with none other than Tiger Woods.
Jimenez was another one of the early starters, and the Spaniard hung in there to squeeze out a 2-over 73. He is two off the lead at 3 over.
“I’m pleased with the way I finished, not very pleased with the way I started,” said Jimenez, who had a 4-over 39 on the front nine that included three consecutive bogeys. “You need to put it on the fairways and I was missing the fairways for a little bit, on the second the third and the fourth and I started getting a bit frustrated.
“You can just miss the line from the tee a little bit and it’s tough,” he explained. “On the way back, it was more relaxing and it was a bit better.”
Two-time defending champion Padraig Harrington also struggled with the elements on Friday. Starting the second round at 1 under, Harrington made five bogeys and one birdie on his way to a 4-over 74 to make the cut on the number.
"I suppose it was a tough day," he said said. "It was always going to be tough going out there, and I hit the ball very nicely all day. It was tough around the turn. I seemed to play the holes OK and 8, 9 and 10 was difficult in any round to drop three in a row."
Not everyone struggled, however. Take for instance Steve Marino and Tom Watson. Marino was an alternate who found out he was in the field last Sunday when Shingo Katayama withdrew due to an injury.
After a 3-under 67 in the first round, Marino -- who was dressed more appropriately for a day of skiing than a day of golf -- fired a 2-under 68 on Friday to grab a share of the 36-hole lead at 5 under with the 59-year-old, story-of-the-century candidate, Watson.
“Today was so different from yesterday,” Marino said. “It was like a totally different golf course. It played so difficult out there today, you know, with the wind early and the rain. It was kind of raining on and off early. It was one of the hardest courses I’ve ever played today.”
The clouds broke and the sky brightened for a short period of time early in the afternoon, but that brief reprieve only gave way to the most significant rainfall of the day -- a downpour that lasted about 15 minutes before settling down into an on-again, off-again steady rain.
“Well, you expected this,” said Retief Goosen after an even-par 70. “Even yesterday when it was calm, I was practicing my low shots, just in case it starts blowing. But, yeah, it’s much harder today, the course.”
Martin Kaymer, winner of the last two European Tour events and looking for a hat trick this weekend at Turnberry, is in the mix at 1 under after a 70 on Friday.
“It was very difficult, especially the front nine,” Kaymer said. “It felt like it was almost impossible to hit the fairway. Eight, 9 and 10 were so difficult. There was so much wind from the left and fairways were sloping from left to right. The whole day was tough. It’s all about short game. I’m hitting fairways and greens and making some putts, but it’s hard to make birdies.”
The weekend is expected to be dry with winds picking up as the days wear on.
“I am hoping just to sneak in on the cut line, to get out nice and early tomorrow morning in beautiful sunshine, shoot a good score and then the weather to come in,” said an optimistic Harrington. “We can always dream, can’t we?”