The wind at Muirfield switched direction on Friday morning, and the back nine at The 142nd Open Championship became almost impossible to play. Those who got out earlier fared better than those with later tee times, as more than one former major champion were proud to put bogeys on their score cards in lieu of some of the scores posted. Four-putting became the normal as the afternoon wore on, and the already nagging conditions got increasingly worse.Spaniard, Miguel Angel Jimenez started his day two shots off the lead, and became one of the few to get through the day at even par. His -3 under par two-day total was good enough for a one-shot lead as the cut is made at 8 over par, and we proceed into weekend play. Unfortunately, the 49 year-old from Malaga Spain, who has rehabed a broken leg from a skiing accident during the off-season has nine major champions within two strokes when action resumes on Saturday.
Three time Open Champion, Tiger Woods is one-shot back with Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson, and Lee Westwood. Tiger played well on Friday, and was happy to get in the clubhouse at even par for his round. Lee West wood played very well and joined 2010 Masters champ, Charl Schwartzel as the only two in the field to shoot in the 60’s, posting 68’s. Schwartzel is in a huge group at -1 under on the tournament.
Quite a few players got to the back nine at -5 under par including first round leader, Zach Johnson. Most of them ended up giving quite a few back at the 15th hole where the putting was treacherous. Johnson four-putted from 12 feet, and made double bogey. Zach went to the 14th tee at -5 under, and even on the day, and gave away four strokes before he could get to the clubhouse. That’s brutal!
Most of the players had not seen an Easterly wind since arriving on Monday, and had little knowledge of how to deal with it, especially on the greens. Lee Westwood attempted to lay-up off the tee at 14, and his ball rolled into a bunker over 400 yards. The downwind shots were tough to judge.
Teenager, Jordan Spieth, who made the Open on the strength of his playoff victory on Sunday at the John Deere Classic, got to the 15th hole at one under on his day, and gave away four shots trying to get to the clubhouse. He began his day at -2 under par, but was only able to card a 74 on Friday. He is in another huge group at one over par.
If the wind stays as it was today, or gets worse in the next two days, expect more carnage on Saturday. The Open Championship winner could very well end up a couple over par. Right now, it’s anyone’s game. Tiger Woods is still the favorite at this point, but it should make for some exciting golf over the weekend.
The ESPN Coverage starts at 7 AM on Saturday, and 6 AM on Sunday. Be sure to get your morning coffee, and tune in, it’s going to be good.
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