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The 150th Open

Round Two in focus


Key talking points as cut looms large

Scottie Scheffler

The opening day was captivating on the Old Course and Friday’s action promises to be no different.

Cameron Young holds the overnight lead on eight-under-par but that is likely to come under serious pressure, with a vast array of players in the red and seeking a round that will set them up perfectly for a weekend assault.

Further down, anxious rounds are ahead for those hovering in and around the cut line, with several big names battling to extend their stay in St Andrews.

Ahead of another day to savour in The 150th Open, here’s what to look out for.

Can Cameron keep old head on young shoulders?

Cameron Young was relaxed after his stunning eight-under-par 64 saw him rocket to the top of the leaderboard on Thursday, admitting he would sleep soundly regardless of how many shots clear he finished the day.

But actions speak louder than words and though Young was in contention for the PGA Championship earlier this year, eventually finishing tied for third, leading an Open at St Andrews will bring a unique pressure to the debutant despite the fact there are still 54 holes to play.

Cam Young tee

He does not go out until 1.26pm, by which time he could find himself with ground to make up.

It’s a different ball game playing catch up, especially if the weather conditions resemble day one and the wind picks up in the afternoon, and Young will have to be at his best again to stay on top.

He appears to be taking everything in his stride, however, and looks unlikely to be daunted by scoreboard pressure. The proof will be in the pudding on a fascinating day.

Which lurkers will make their move?

With so many players in the red, predicting who will mount a day two charge is tougher than escaping the Road Hole bunker.

The morning of day one was notable for the strength of the Australian contingent, currently headed by Cameron Smith following his round of 67 which included some typically classy long putting.

Brad Kennedy is just a shot further back, while Min Woo Lee – part of Thursday’s opening group – begins on three-under-par.

The English stars were also out in force, from the usual suspects – Lee Westwood (-4), Ian Poulter (-3) and Danny Willett (-3) – to the likes of Robert Dinwiddie (-5), amateur Barclay Brown (-4) and John Parry (-3).

Cameron Smith tees off at the sixth

Former Champions Padraig Harrington (-3), Jordan Spieth (-1) and Louis Oosthuizen (-1) are also still very much in the conversation and the latter, of course, knows what it takes to win an Open in these parts.

American dominance to continue?

For all the illustrious names above, there are a glut of Americans on four-under-par who will hope to build on promising opening days.

World number 1s past and present, Scottie Scheffler and Dustin Johnson, are among them.

The former is looking to continue a strong trend of Masters winners performing strongly at St Andrews while Johnson is yet to get his hands on a Claret Jug and would love nothing more than that changing this year.

Few arrived in better form than Kurt Kitayama, fresh from his runners-up finish at the Genesis Scottish Open, and he looked impressing in shooting a 68 of his own.

The quartet is completed by Talor Gooch, who will be hoping to outperform his compatriots after a day which once again showed the incredible strength in depth within American golf, while Sahith Theegala is just a shot further back on three-under-par.

Where will the cut line be?

With the top 70 and ties to make the cut, the marker looks like being around level par if Thursday’s action is anything to go by.

That leaves some celebrated names with plenty of work to do, not least Tiger Woods – who will tee off on Friday at six-over-par after a challenging opening round.

Fellow former Champion Golfers Stewart Cink (+6) and Darren Clarke (+7) also look like suffering early exits, while Henrik Stenson (+3) is another who needs to pull something special out the bag.

Homa and Tiger chat

Paul Lawrie revitalised his hopes of staying for the weekend with a magnificent eagle on the last but begins two-over-par, while Jon Rahm begins the day on one-over-par.

The names currently doing just enough on level par include the most recent pair of Champion Golfers, Collin Morikawa and Shane Lowry, and US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick.

2015 Champion Zach Johnson is also in need of a good Friday if he is to stay in with a chance of lifting another Claret Jug at the home of golf.

Can anyone stop Brown winning Silver Medal?

Among the standout performances on day one was that of Barclay Brown, the amateur who posted a four-under-par 68.

He currently has a four-shot lead in the race for the Silver Medal, with Sam Bairstow and Keita Nakajima on level par, the latter fighting back strongly on Thursday after beginning with three successive bogeys.

Brown looked unflustered during his eye-catching opening round, birdieing the notorious 17th, and will hope his memorable start does not become a flash in the pan.