Friday - Five to watch
We continue our daily look at some of the leading contenders in this week’s field and at why they might perform well in The Open.
The former World No. 1 posted a two under par 69 yesterday to leave him nicely placed just behind the chasing pack. It was the sixth time in eight starts in The Open that McIlroy had opened with a score in the 60s although it should be noted his second round scores aren’t so good. Rounds of 74, 75, 76, 79 and 80 illustrate that.
This is the first time we’ve seen the 26-year-old from Utah on these shores but he didn’t take long to acclimatise. A first round 67 without a single dropped shot shows links knowledge isn’t always necessary although it will be interesting to see how he copes if today’s poor forecast is correct. Won for the first time on the PGA Tour earlier this season at the Puerto Rico Open.
The German was another of the handful of players who did not drop a shot on the first day of The 145th Open and his 66 means he shares second place with Patrick Reed. During his career Kaymer could never have been described as consistent but all-of-sudden he has posted four top-ten finishes in his last six starts on the European Tour. That represents a good build-up to his tilt for a third Major Championship title.
The Welshman is the exact opposite to Kaymer in as far as he has missed his last four cuts in Europe but he has warm memories of Scotland following his exploits at the 2014 Ryder Cup and a 69 yesterday suggests he might be starting to turn things round. A good finish here would be timely because he badly needs points in order to qualify for this year’s encounter against the Americans at Hazeltine.
The Englishman’s season has been interrupted by a herniated disc but yesterday he showed you can’t keep a good man down for long when he carded a 68 to move within one shot of the top-10. After finishing tied-4th as an amateur at Birkdale back in 1998 his record at The Open has been patchy but was improved with a top-six finish 12 months ago at St Andrews.