Thursday, July 14, 2016

What to watch for on Day 2 of the British Open

145th Open Championship - Previews

Day 1 of the British Open is in the books, and with it perhaps the last best chance for anyone to card a decent round, what with horrific weather rolling in over the next few hours. So here’s what happened on Thursday, and what it all bodes for Friday:

Phil: Phlourish or Phlop? Phil Mickelson came within millimeters of the greatest statistical round in major golf history, barely missing a 62 thanks to an 18th-hole lip-out. He was clearly heartbroken, in his own words, not to have accomplished a feat that eluded Tiger, Jack, Arnie, and everyone else who’s ever picked up a golf club. But he’s still got three rounds left to play this week; how will he rebound? Mickelson is at his best when he’s surging from behind, not protecting a lead, so the next few days will mark a fascinating test of the way he’s able to adjust his game for changing conditions, both in the atmosphere and in his own skull.

Scottish weather: Current forecasts call for a 100 percent chance of rain on Friday, and winds gusting in the teens for the rest of the tournament. Now that’s the British Open weather we know and love. Players who didn’t make birdies on the course on Thursday are going to regret it come Friday.

Meet the Beatles: Recent media reports have dubbed golf’s Big Four (Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson) as “The Beatles,” with McIlroy getting tagged with the “Ringo” label. Unfortunately, they didn’t exactly post Beatlesque numbers, with McIlroy coming in at -2, six strokes off Mickelson’s lead, followed by Spieth and Johnson at even par and Day at two over. You know the Beatles are going to harmonize soon enough, but they’ll have to step it up if they want to catch Phil.

Major winners in the hunt: Mickelson put some huge distance between himself and the field, but there are three major winners in the top 10 who know how to win these big tournaments: Martin Kaymer, Keegan Bradley, and defending British Open champion Zach Johnson. Don’t sleep on non-major winners Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, and Henrik Stenson, either.

Cut line blues: The top 70 and ties will make the cut and play the weekend. At the moment, that mark stands at even par, though that will almost certainly rise in more difficult conditions. Still, players like Shane Lowry, John Daly, and Jim Furyk are already in trouble.

First tee times come at 1:35 a.m. ET on Friday morning. Get some sleep, then get some coffee, and join us right back here for Round 2.

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.


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