Not everyone took advantage of the delightful conditions the first two days of the 149th British Open and will be leaving Royal St. George’s without a tee time on the weekend.
While the days were bright in Sandwich, England, and with the layout on the soft side and the breezes far from menacing for most of the first two rounds, Louis Oosthuizen led a barrage of red numbers as he’s shot 64-65 to get to 11 under and two shots clear of the field. In all, 52 of the original 156 players are under par; another 35 made it to the third round.
But plenty of players couldn’t overcome the lurking dangers of Royal St. George’s, including the sloping greens, the humpy, bumpy fairways, an assortment of pot bunkers and lush, thick fescue and rough. The cut came at 1-over 141 – the lowest in the championship’s history since 1898. The previous low was 143, which occurred nine times, the most recent being in 2019 at Royal Portrush.
Here are some notables heading home.
Phil Mickelson, 12 over (80-72)
Phil Mickelson walks across the fifth green following his putt during the second round of the Open Championship golf tournament. (Photo: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports)
It’s been a hit and (plenty of) miss kind of year for Lefty. The six-time major winner and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame became the oldest major champion when winning the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in May. But he’s also missed seven cuts and finished worse than 35th seven times this year. At Royal St. George’s, he didn’t make a birdie in his first-round 80, didn’t make a birdie period until his 29th hole and made just three in all.
Jason Day, 5 over (75-70)
Jason Day during the second round of the Open Championship golf tournament. (Photo: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports)
The 2015 PGA winner couldn’t recover from an opening-75 which he began with three bogeys in his first five holes. The former world No. 1 has six missed cuts and just two top-10s this year.
Patrick Reed +3 (72-71)
Patrick Reed checks his yardage book on 17th hole during the first round of the Open Championship golf tournament. (Photo: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports)
The 2018 Masters champion battled the lefts throughout his two rounds and never got on a good sustained run – in the first round he had four bogeys and two birdies in his first 14 holes. Knowing he needed to go low in the second round, the winner of the Farmers Insurance Open made two bogeys in his first five holes and couldn’t rally.
Patrick Cantlay, 3 over (74-69)
Patrick Cantlay watches his shot from the 9th tee during a practice round for The 149th British Open Golf Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich in south-east England on July 14, 2021. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS)
The world No. 7, who went across the pond off his victory in the Memorial and two top-15s in his last three starts, certainly made enough birdies – 9. But the usually consistent ball-striker made seven bogeys, one double and one triple.
Tyrrell Hatton, 2 over (72-70)
Tyrrell Hatton tees off on the 4th hole during Day Two of the abrdn Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club on July 09, 2021 in North Berwick, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
The world No. 10 went all Angry Golfer in the second round, flipping off a spectator and snapping an iron on his last hole. Made five birdies and too many bogeys.
Stewart Cink, 3 over (66-77)
Stewart Cink tees off from the 16th during his second round on day 2 of The 149th British Open Golf Championship at Royal St George's, Sandwich in south-east England on July 16, 2021. (Photo by Glyn KIRK)
The two-time winner this season and the 2009 Open champion hovered around the lead as he opened with a 66 but he began the second round with three consecutive bogeys and then disaster struck when he went bogey-triple bogey-bogey starting on the 13th.