Saturday, July 18, 2015

Open Championship will finish on Monday, not Sunday

Halfway at last - Dustin Johnson leads from 

Danny Willett with Paul Lawrie third
                                                          FROM THE EUROPEAN TOUR WEBSITE

Dustin Johnson has recent history on his side as he looks to end his run of Major heartache with victory in The Open Championship, which will finish on Monday for only the second time in its 144th staging.
A delay of ten and a half hours forced the R and A to extend proceedings into a fifth day for the first time since Royal Lytham in 1988, with the third round scheduled for tomorrow at St Andrews.
After a 7am restart on the Old Course, Johnson (pictured) had seen his ball roll off the 14th green in winds gusting up to 45 miles per hour during the 32 minutes of action possible before play was suspended.
But when play eventually resumed at 6pm, the 31 year old American completed a second round of 69 by driving the 18th green and two-putting for birdie to finish ten under par, one ahead of England's Danny Willett - who finished his 69 on Friday - and two clear of 1999 champion Paul Lawrie.
Australia's Jason Day and 2010 champion Louis Oosthuizen finished seven under par to join Friday finishers Marc Warren, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott and Robert Streb in joint fourth, with World Number Two Jordan Spieth two shots further back after a second round 72.
"This morning when we started it was almost impossible, but I managed to hang in there and then when we just went out and restarted it was very tough, but managed to make some good pars and then birdie the last hole," Johnson said. "So it was a good way to finish the day."
Asked about the incident on the 14th, where his ball was blown down a slope towards that of playing partner Spieth, Johnson added: "Fortunately it happened in kind of the end part of the second round, so we've still got a lot of golf to play, so it is what it is. Can't do anything to change it.
"When I went up to mark it I got probably an inch from the ground. My coin was about to hit the ground when it took off. Then I went to mark it again and I think it took off again. And then Jordan was running to his ball. It was pretty funny."
The last seven Major winners have led or shared the lead after 36 holes, but Johnson has already let several chances slip through his fingers.
He held a two shot lead early in the final round of the US Open last month but failed to convert an eagle attempt from 12 feet on the 72nd hole to claim the title and missed the return from four feet to miss out on a play-off with Spieth.
The World Number Four also took a three shot lead into the final round at Pebble Beach in 2010 but carded a closing 82 as Graeme McDowell secured victory, while a two shot penalty for grounding his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole of the US PGA two months later cost him a place in the play-off.
Masters and US Open champion Spieth, who is chasing the third leg of an unprecedented calendar Grand Slam, was cross with himself for five three-putts in his round.
"It was an interesting round that took a lot of time, but it's nice to look back on Saturday evening and instead of being five shots back with one to go, I've still got two full rounds, so anything can happen here," the 21 year old said.
"I believe I'm still in contention. I still believe I can win this tournament. I need a really solid round tomorrow, though, because Dustin is not letting up.
"Dustin is going to shoot a good round tomorrow with less wind and I'm going to need to shoot a great round to really give myself a chance.
"To fall from two back to five back isn't exactly what I wanted, but it could have been worse, could have been better. If I can shoot something like ten under in the last two rounds, I think I'll have a chance to win."
Asked about the pressure of trying to win a third straight Major title, Spieth added: "When we're out on the course inside the ropes, it's just another event, and I'm working as hard as I can to get into contention and beat the best players in the world.
"I understand where we're at off the course, but it doesn't do any good thinking about that. It does better for me focusing on the task at hand. That's what we did in the first two Majors."

Cut falls at level par 144 - Tiger 

Woods misses it by SEVEN

Players with 36-hole par aggregates of 144 and better qualified for the third and fourth rounds.
Tiger Woods, after a second-round 75, missed out not by one or two strokes but a wide margin of SEVEN
 He tried with all his might to drive the home hole, coming up just short on No. 18 before taking a stroll across the Swilcan Bridge early Saturday evening to a loud ovation.
He would call it "the greatest walk in golf," but in no way did Woods expect to be taking it on a Saturday with nothing at stake, his tournament about to end.
For the first time in his career, Woods has missed the cut in consecutive major championships, this one at The Open perhaps more shocking than his performance last month at the U.S. Open.
There he shot a first-round 80 and struggled to keep the ball on the golf course. Here Woods was far more under control off the tee but made shocking mistakes in his iron play.
Woods shot rounds of 76-75 and missed the cut by seven strokes at a place where he has won twice and -- despite a year full of woes -- came with high expectations.
He described the situation as frustrating.
"I felt like I was playing well enough to win this event," Woods said. "On the very first hole on the first day, I fat a sand wedge in the water. I fatted my 3-iron off the tee, and then I fatted my 8-iron into the green on 2, drove it into a divot on 4.
"It was just one thing after another. I had my opportunities. I just didn't get the ball close enough, and then when I did, I didn't make them."
Woods has now missed the cut in six major championships as a pro, but three have been in the past four going back to the 2014 PGA Championship. He has missed three cuts this year -- a first in his career -- and has a total of 15 worldwide. He had just four career missed cuts in 2008 at the time of his 14th and last major championship.





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