Fantasy watch: Top players to pick heading into the weekend
Halfway thru The Open, Royal Birkdale has held its reputation as a stern test for the world's best golfers.
After two rounds with plenty of wind and rain, only ten players have fared better than par and 5-over-par made the cut.
Here is a look at the five best players with the chance to separate themselves from the field and lift the Claret Jug on Sunday at Royal Birkdale.
Jordan Spieth: The two-time major champion and No. 2 in the world weathered the elements on Friday afternoon wonderfully en route to a second-round 69. Spieth's scrambling ability and knack for making a big par putt under pressure make it hard to believe he won't be in the hunt through the very end.
Rory McIlroy: If you take away the front nine of the tournament, no one has been hotter near the top of the leaderboard than Rory. The five-shot deficit heading into the weekend may be a lot to make up for the other three golfers with him at T-7, but we know how fast the birdies pile up for McIlroy when he finds his groove.
Brooks Koepka: Koepka's second round epitomized taking advantage of some fortunate breaks, which always seem to be the difference for the winner on Sunday. The big-hitting Koepka should be able to take advantage of the two par 5s more than most down the stretch. Having not played since winning the U.S. Open last month, he's answered the week's biggest question: he's certainly not rusty.
Matt Kuchar: The last seven majors have been won by first-timers, and is there anyone in contention more deserving to continue the streak than Kooch? His even-keeled demeanor while riding out the elements on Friday was as impressive as his pitch-in at the 3rd hole.
Ian Poulter: Fist-pumping since the front nine on Thursday, Poults has been playing with a chip on his shoulder all year long. Poulter was in contention in May at The Players Championship and has used his crafty scrambling ability to stay near the top of the leaderboard.