Notable Notes: Z. Johnson is no surprise at the top
Zach Johnson finds himself in a familiar place heading into the weekend as Kevin Kisner opens the door on his last hole. Here are some notable notes from Round 2 at Carnoustie.
No surprise: Zach Johnson is back in the hunt
After a poor opening tee shot leading to a bogey, 2015 Champion Golfer of the Year played the rest of the second round blemish-free en route to a 67 and a share of the 36-hole lead.
It would be tough to argue against Johnson as the favorite this weekend. It's his ninth round of 67 or lower in The Open since 2010, the most of any player in that span. After missing cuts in his first three Open starts, he placed 20th at Carnoustie in 2007. He's made 11 straight cuts and has seven Top 25s.
"I feel like this championship more than any tournament completely magnifies exactly what I need to work on, my strengths and my weaknesses," said Johnson.
Johnson finished the day tied for the lead with Kevin Kisner.
Kisner's late stumble opens door to field
First-round leader Kevin Kisner arrived at the 18th tee on Friday with a two-shot lead, but managing a par on Carnoustie's finisher is no small task. Kisner's drive found a bad lie in the left rough, and his 8-iron from 160 yards came up short into the burn.
"It just came out like high flop shot to the right," said Kisner. "It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much."
He tapped in for a double-bogey 6 and walked into the clubhouse tied with Z. Johnson instead.
World Nos. 1 and 2 miss the weekend
In last year's Open, Justin Thomas watched his Open go from promising to bleak in a hurry. He started the second round two shots off the lead, but went 3-over after two and then carded a disastrous 9 on the 6th hole.
Entering 2018 as a PGA champion and world No. 2, Thomas was poised for payback. Again, he was squarely in the mix after the first round, among the 10 players tied for eighth. But yet again, Thomas' second round got ugly. Thomas made three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He carded a second-round 77 and finished outside the cutline.
Meanwhile, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson was never a factor. He shot a 5-over-par 76 on Thursday and followed it up with a 1-over 72. The missed cut is his first in The Open since his first-ever start in 2009 at Turnberry, and the first time the top-ranked player has missed the cut in The Open since Luke Donald in 2011 at Royal St. George's.
Tommy Fleetwood gets back on track
Tommy Fleetwood is not a major winner, but he certainly feels like he belongs here. He scared the lead at last month's U.S. Open with a scorching final-round 63 at Shinnecock Hills that ultimately fell just short. He holds the course record at Carnoustie set at last fall's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
So it came as little surprise when Fleetwood bounced back from a disappointing 72 in Round 1 with a scorching 65 on the softer, damper links Friday. After an unsettled first round, he went to work on the range and found his swing. His ball striking was stellar all day, highlighted by hitting two 2-irons on the difficult 17th hole, currently playing the third most difficult in the championship.
"The wind picked up, and it was raining quite hard, and I hit two perfect 2-irons, and that was the best hole I played all day."
Fleetwood carried the momentum off 17 to a birdie at 18 and tie for the lead. Minutes after Fleetwood finished, Zach Johnson made a birdie on 18 himself, sinking a long putt to take a one-shot lead.
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