The Open Championship is underway! Here's your complete roundup of the first day.
All due respect to Dustin Johnson, who played an exceptional round (7-under 65) to put himself into the final pairing on Saturday, but the second day of the Open Championship belonged to Rory McIlroy. Every story involving McIlroy for the last 24 hours, and there have been oh so many, waved McIlroy's Friday struggles this season as both warning and, perhaps, prophecy. But McIlroy, despite a first-hole bogey, was having none of that nonsense.
McIlroy posted a second straight 66 to put himself four strokes clear of Johnson and six strokes clear of the rest of the field. That's powerful, inspiring golf, the kind of play that makes you wonder whether this kid has a ceiling at all. It's early yet, of course, but if McIlroy were to win, he'd have three legs of the career Grand Slam before he turned 25. It's also worth noting that in his other two major victories, the 2011 US Open at Congressional and the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah, McIlroy was playing on a completely different plane than the rest of the field, burying them by at least eight shots.
The question with McIlroy, of course, is whether he'll be able to handle prosperity. He's held the lead at two other major midpoints. One, the 2011 U.S. Open, turned out well. The other, the 2011 Masters, fell apart on the back nine Sunday.
Weather was not an issue for McIlroy and Johnson Friday, much to the frustration of those who'd played in the morning. But the forecast for Saturday is a 100 percent chance of rain, which means that the elements will come into play. When McIlroy's on, no one in the field can take him, but maybe the heavens can.
Sergio Garcia plays every Open Championship like THIS IS GOING TO BE THE YEAR. Maybe it will be, maybe not, but either way, Garcia has this gem to remember, on the second hole:
Rory McIlroy is in position to win his third major before turning 25. In the modern, four-major era (i.e. since the Masters was added to the mix in 1934), only two players have pulled off that feat. You may know their names: Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. (Source: Golf Channel)
The Open Championship is completely dictated by the weather and its effect on the draw. Luckily for some and unluckily for others, the weather was at its worst on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, giving players like Rory McIlroy two days of fine weather. Others weren't so lucky:
I wouldn't have minded playing the golf course I'm watching on tv right now. #luckofthedraw— Graham DeLaet (@GrahamDeLaet) July 18, 2014
DeLaet finished the day at +3, and could have been so much better had he played at a different time.
We knew Tiger Woods would have a tough go trying to compete at the Open Championship. But we didn't expect him to fall apart quite as badly as he did, following his Thursday 69 with a Friday 77 and needing a desperation birdie to make the cut. There's more on Woods' struggles here, but suffice it to say that tough times are ahead for the world's best-known golfer.
Hideki Matsuyama gives us all an idea of just how hard it is to get out of the vicious bunkers that line the fairways ... and the players' nightmares.
"We got the better draw by far. If we had been late-early, I would've missed the cut by 5-6 shots." - Jordan Spieth, who made the cut on the number.
And that's a wrap for Day 2. Thanks for hanging with us! Come on back tomorrow or follow us on Facebook for more!