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The 151st Open

Moving Day


Five things to watch out for

Matt Fitzpatrick

Saturday is known as Moving Day at The Open but Brian Harman will hope things stay on an even keel.

The American’s superb 65 saw him race into a five-shot lead at the halfway stage but the chasing pack will hope to apply as much pressure as possible before he heads out alongside Tommy Fleetwood in the day’s final group.

That is just one of many intriguing subplots going into the weekend…

Can Harman handle the heat?

Where else to start? Brian Harman looked like he was playing on a different course to the rest of the field in the morning, with four consecutive birdies between holes 2 and 5.

Brian Harman

An eagle on the last concluded his 65 and he then had the luxury of sitting with his feet up watching the chasing pack largely struggle to close the gap.

Tommy Fleetwood threatened a late charge but will start five behind, though he will of course have the vast majority of the crowd behind him when the last duo are in action.

For Harman, the weekend represents a different psychological challenge as the hunter has become the hunted.

His lead is a commanding one but so much can happen over 36 holes – especially when the conditions intervene…

How will the rain affect things?

The forecast is bleak for Saturday, with persistent rain expected.

After two largely dry days, that will pose a new challenge to the trimmed down field – though many will have practiced in inclement weather earlier in the week.

The (relatively) local contingent will not mind that so much, with Scotland’s Michael Stewart among those hoping the rain could play into the hands of the British players remaining in the field.

With five Englishmen – Fleetwood, Matthew Southgate, Matthew Jordan, Richard Bland and Laurie Canter – currently T11 or better, an intriguing day awaits on the home front.

Who will make the early running?

An array of big names needed to draw on all their class just to make the cut at Royal Liverpool.

World number one Scottie Scheffler and reigning Champion Cameron Smith were both four-over-par going down the last but the former’s exquisite escape out a bunker and the Australian’s perfect approach to set up eagle kept them both in play going into the weekend.

Cameron Smith during his second round at The 151st Open

With Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay, Rickie Fowler and Padraig Harrington all also coming in just above the dotted line, the morning will offer an opportunity for several stars to seek an upturn in fortunes.

Can Straka continue his momentum?

Nobody played the back nine better than Sepp Straka, who birdied six of his last seven holes on his way to an overall score of four-under-par and third place.

Following a shot of the Championship contender on Thursday, this has been a start to remember for the Austrian and he has nothing to lose heading into the weekend.

“It's hard to because it doesn't mean a whole lot right now,” he said.

“The final standings will be set on Sunday.

“But yeah, it's a great position to be in, and you've just got to keep trying to shoot some good scores.”

Which Fitzpatrick will claim the bragging rights?

Alex and Matt Fitzpatrick will begin Saturday on two-over-par after straying either side of level in their second rounds.

Alex ended with a birdie to finish one-under-par while Matt’s triple bogey at 17 spoiled an otherwise impressive round as he carded 72.

Both have been glowing in their praise for the other this week but there is no doubt the brotherly rivalry will be in force across the weekend with bragging rights at stake.

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