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Open Championship Update

July 20, 2012

Features

We’ve reached the halfway mark of the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s. The biggest surprise of the tournament so far has been the weather. The winds have been calm, and there has been some rain, but nothing the players haven’t been able to handle. Apart from some water that flooded a few bunkers, the course is in tremendous shape, and the emphasis has been on ball striking and hitting fairways.

First round leader Adam Scott followed his opening round 64 with an impressive 67 on Friday. The Australian has played well in majors before, but has yet to be able to close the deal. Scott has always had one of the best swings on tour, and since switching to the long putter about a year ago, he’s started to live up to the hype he created after winning the PLAYERS Championship at the age of 23.

At -9 can Scott continue his momentum going into Saturday?

Scott will be joined in the final group on Saturday by Brandt Snedeker. Snedeker has also had some decent success on the PGA Tour, including 3 wins, and is known as one of the best putters in the world. “Sneds” managed to get through 36 holes without making a bogey, or hitting it in any of the 205 bunkers at Royal Lytham. He tied Nick Faldo for the 36 hole scoring record at -10 in Open Championship history.

Snedeker followed an opening round 66 with a brilliant 64. Snedeker is somewhat of a surprise to be atop the leaderboard at the Open, considering he has never made the cut in his three previous appearances. Snedeker and Scott will tee off at 10am Eastern Saturday in the final pairing.

At -6 Tiger Woods is definitely set to make a run for The Open Championship

Tiger Woods had managed to avoid bunkers as well until he got to the 18th hole on Friday. Woods his his approach shot into a greenside bunker, but holed his third shot for birdie, and gave the crowd his patented fist pump as it went in. Tiger shot back to back 67’s to sit on -6, 4 shots back. Woods has only hit his driver 3 times during his first 36 holes, and has hit 26 of 28 fairways, mainly using his “stinger” 2 iron shot he is so famously known for. He’s also hit 80% of greens in regulation.

Tiger seems to be taking what the course will give him, and if the winds pick up, like is expected on Sunday at least, the ability to hit the low 2 iron off the tee could be a huge advantage for Woods. After today’s round, Tiger has now opened a major with two rounds in the 60’s eight times, he has won the previous 7! Major #15 is within his grasp with only two players ahead of him on the leaderboard. Will Tiger be able to close the deal this weekend, or will he have another poor weekend performance as he did at the US Open in June?

Woods will be in the penultimate group with Thorbjorn Oleson, a Danish player who has 1 previous win on the European Tour. This is only Oleson’s 2nd major championship appearance, he missed the cut last year at Royal St. George’s. Oleson will have to deal with the “Tiger Factor” tomorrow, which will add even more pressure to his surprise success this week. It’s always fun to watch how a player reacts to playing with Tiger for the first time on such a big stage.

There are a group of players 6 shots back at -4. Major Champions Graeme McDowell and Paul Lawrie, along with Thomas Aiken, 2012 PLAYERS Champion Matt Kuchar and Jason Dufner. Ernie Els is at -3 and World #1 Luke Donald and Steve Striker are at -2.

With the cut line coming at +3, many notable players will be packing their bags and heading home early this week. Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Ryo Ishikawa and Phil Mickelson are all a part of that group.

My Picks Updated:

Tiger Woods– Currently in 3rd (-6), Woods is in good shape to add to his major list this weekend.

Ernie Els– Els has continued his good play at Royal Lytham and currently sits in 10th place (-3). Ernie needs a few more putts to drop if he’s going to make a weekend charge to put himself in a good spot to win this week.

John Daly- Daly has played solid, somehow hitting fairways while hitting driver all week. JD snuck into the weekend at +3, and will need something magical to happen over the weekend to make up 13 shots. It’s not going to happen, but it’s always fun to be able to see him play well.

Sergio Garcia– Well, when I picked him, I said he would need to get past his mental game to be successful. That didn’t happen, in fact Garcia was in position to make the cut after a birdie on 17, but then missed a short putt on 18 for par, and ended up missing the cut. I guess 3 out of 4 making the cut isn’t terrible!

We are set up for a great weekend of golf ahead of us, enjoy the Open! We may just see a little history this weekend if Tiger Woods can inch closer to Jack’s record of 18 majors!

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About travisdevlin

Sports blogger with an emphasis on NFL, Soccer and College Football. Will try to be as biased as possible, but as a fan I support the San Diego Chargers, Totteham HotSpurs and Notre Dame football.

View all posts by travisdevlin

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