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The 149th Open Royal St George's
Things to look out for on Saturday
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Your guide to Moving Day at The Open
Dustin Johnson peer tree

Friday provided yet more high drama at The 149th Open as Louis Oosthuizen stayed top of the leaderboard but major champions such as Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm made a charge behind him.

Now it’s Moving Day as players jostle for places ahead of Championship Sunday and look to put themselves in position to make a play for the Claret Jug. 

Here’s your guide to things to look out for, starting with a few fun early pairings to keep an eye on. 

Rory McIlroy (E) and Richard Bland (E) - 11.05am 

The leaders don’t get underway until 3.55pm but almost five hours earlier, Rory McIlroy and Richard Bland tee off in a two-ball that will likely attract a big crowd. 

It hasn’t quite happened for McIlroy at Royal St George’s, with back-to-back 70s leaving him 11 shots behind Oosthuizen, and while that’s likely too far back to seriously challenge, a low round could drive him up the leaderboard. 

Playing alongside McIlroy on an Open Saturday is just the latest adventure in a fairytale few months for 48-year-old Bland – winning his first European Tour event at the 478th time of asking, leading the US Open at the halfway stage, hitting the first tee shot at The 149th Open and then finding three birdies over the final five holes to make the cut. 

The atmosphere playing with a potentially charging McIlroy will be unlike anything the veteran has ever experienced and he’ll undoubtedly savour it. 

Rory McIlroy Day 2

Padraig Harrington (E) and Matt Fitzpatrick (E) – 11.25am 

Twenty minutes after McIlroy and Bland, the pairing of Padraig Harrington and Matt Fitzpatrick will strike their opening tee shots. 

Two-time Champion Golfer Harrington has had a bit of a career renaissance over the past few months and five birdies on Friday helped him post 68 to follow his opening-round 72. 

The affable Irishman is wily enough to master any links and he’ll like his chances of climbing the leaderboard, while Fitzpatrick will aim to build on his birdie at 18 on Friday. 

The Englishman has been tipped as a potential future major winner and he’ll be able to attack the course on Saturday as he looks to make a charge.  

Justin Thomas (-1) and Adam Scott (-1) – 12.05pm 

Speaking of charges, Justin Thomas is as capable as anyone in the field of posting a 63 and surging back into contention. 

A scrappy Thursday 72 was followed by a two-birdie, one-eagle 67 on Friday and the 2017 PGA Championship winner will be targeting a hot streak to blaze past the players above him on the leaderboard. 

For the third day in a row, he’ll be playing alongside popular Australian Adam Scott, after the 2013 Masters champion notched an under-the-radar 66 on Friday to make the cut. 

Scott always has plenty of spectators following his round, so being paired with one of the best players in the world makes for a blockbuster two-ball and they may end up spurring each other on. 

Jonathan Thomson (-2) and Lee Westwood (-2) – 12.50pm 

Jonathan ‘Jigger’ Thomson landed a brilliant hole-in-one on the 16th yesterday and the 6ft 9in Rotherham man’s reward is a plum grouping with veteran Englishman Lee Westwood – playing his 88th major this week. 

Can Thomson maintain the momentum that also saw him make birdie at 17 to move to -2 as he plays the weekend of a major for the first time? 

Lee Westwood also had a good Friday as he carded 67 and currently sitting just outside the top 30, a low round could yet put him in contention for that elusive first major come Sunday. 

WHO WILL KICK ON? 

Up near the top of the leaderboard, there are a slew of fascinating narratives to watch on Moving Day, starting with who will make the move to challenge the current top three of Oosthuizen, Morikawa and Jordan Spieth. 

The top 30 is filled with dangerous names more than capable of making a Saturday surge and putting themselves in position to challenge.  

Perhaps the most likely is world No.1 Johnson, his Friday 65 moving him to four strokes behind at -7 and he sounded confident of being right in the mix over the weekend in his post-round interviews. 

Less-heralded names Dylan Frittelli and Scottie Scheffler are also at -7, while the group one stroke further back contains a quintet of players without a major title to their name but who have a great opportunity to make their mark. 

Those at -5 will also have the leaders glancing nervously over their shoulder as Paul Casey, four-time major winner Brooks Koepka and reigning US Open champion Rahm will all be looking to go low. Who will emerge from the pack? 

MORIKAWA’S ENCORE 

Morikawa lit up Friday morning at The Open as seven birdies through his first 14 holes meant he had all sorts of record in his sights. 

He battled his way home for a 64 to move to -9 and Oosthuizen is only two strokes clear of the American who, let’s not forget, is playing in his first Open this week and aiming to become the first man in history to win two majors on his debut appearance. 

Although Morikawa has taken to the links like a duck to water, he’s still inexperienced on these courses, so what will he do for an encore – go low once again or find Saturday more of a struggle? 

With his gorgeous ball-striking, he can win any tournament in the world and if the occasionally-cold putter continues to hold up as it has so far this week, he will like his chances of lifting a first Claret Jug. 

CAN LOUIS MAINTAIN HIS FORM? 

You simply can’t play better than the rounds of 64 and 65 Oosthuizen carded on Thursday and Friday – history tells as such, given the fact his 129 was the lowest 36-hole score in the history of The Open. 

The South African was a front-runner who surged further clear at St Andrews to become Champion Golfer of the Year in 2010 and although the chasing pack is stronger this time around, he can draw on that experience. 

His record of runner-up finishes at major championships is well-documented but can he maintain his form from the first two rounds at Royal St George’s and finally land a well-deserved second major? 

There’s been nothing in his play so far this week to suggest he can’t keep going low but it’s not always easy leading an Open with the world chasing you down, so the 38-year-old will need to use all his veteran savvy to maintain his advantage.

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