Round 2 notable notes: Mickelson exits with 'flair'
Here’s a look at how several notable players fared on Day 2 in Southport, including an early exit from Phil Mickelson.
It’s rarely easy at The Open, but it certainly wasn’t easy Friday at Royal Birkdale where swirling winds and driving rains sent scores soaring.
Jordan Spieth successfully battled the elements, and he now leads by two shots over Matt Kuchar. Here’s a look at how several other notable players fared on a difficult afternoon in Southport:
Phil Mickelson exits with “flair.” It wasn’t to be for the 2013 Champion Golfer of the Year, who stumbled to a triple bogey on the par-4 third hole and made four straight bogeys on Nos. 10-13. Mickelson shot a second-round 77 to finish the week at 9 over and miss the cut by four shots. It’s his first missed cut in any event this year, and his first missed cut at The Open since 2012.
Hometown favorite Tommy Fleetwood will stick around. Fleetwood was red-hot coming into The Open but struggled to a 76 in the opening round, dealing a serious blow to his chances of making the cut. The Southport native rallied Friday afternoon, however, and a 1-under 69 got him back to 5 under for the week and right on the cut line. It ensures he’ll have two more chances this weekend on a course where he used to sneak on as a junior.
Brooks Koepka goes birdie-less. The reigning U.S. Open champ held a share of the lead entering the day, but he’s now three shots adrift after a second-round 72 that featured two bogeys and 16 pars. Koepka was unable to cash in on any of the chances he had on the greens Friday, taking 10 more putts than he needed in the opening round. Despite his struggles, Koepka has only two names above his on the leaderboard as he looks to win back-to-back majors.
Henrik Stenson deals with off-course distraction. The Champion Golfer of the Year was informed during his opening round that his rental house had been burglarized, and the offenders got away with Stenson’s wardrobe for the week among other personal items. The Swede put the issue aside during his second round, carding a 73 to head into the weekend at 2 over and still with a slim chance of retaining the Claret Jug.
Thick rough derails Justin Thomas. The American has won three times on the PGA Tour this season and appeared in position after an opening-round 67. But Thomas struggled mightily on the sixth hole, with multiple failed attempts to lash his ball out of thick rough leading to a quintuple-bogey 9. Thomas ultimately shot an 80 to drop to 7 over, joining Mickelson on the list of marquee missed cuts that also includes Patrick Reed, Louis Oosthuizen and Padraig Harrington, who missed by a shot 10 years after his win at Royal Birkdale.