Open Championship tracker: Day 2 at St. Andrews

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2015, 10:30 am

The 144th Open Championship takes place this week at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. is tracking the men's third major of the season through on-site reporting and social media. For additional Open coverage, click here for full-field scores and click here for our Tiger Tracker. If you want to view the action we tracked from the opening round, you can find that here. All-times for the Open Championship tracker are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

4:59PM: Tom Watson says goodbye, and we will, too. That's it for today. We'll be back bright and early tomorrow.

4:45PM: Tom Watson crosses the Swilcan Bridge one last time.

4:42PM: So, technically, Tiger makes the weekend!

4:35PM: Despite two closing bogeys, Luke Donald is in the mix heading into the weekend.

4:15PM: Two straight bogeys for Matsuyama, and he's back at 5 under. Getting dark out there, play likely to be called soon. Tom Watson on 16.

4:01PM: Looks like Mother Nature is saying, "That's enough with the birdies!" Wind is howling, and DJ and Matsuyama miss short par putts on 11. DJ leads by one over Willett.

3:56PM: Good news ...

Bad news ...

3:44PM: The birdies keep coming. Day birdies 9 and Donald makes another bomb at 15, and they're both at 8 under, three behind DJ.

3:40PM: What he said ...

3:37PM: This is getting ridiculous! Matsuyama holes a birdie putt from off the green at 10 to get to 7 under. DJ makes a birdie as well to push his lead to two over Willett.

3:33PM: Not pretty ...

3:29PM: Somehow Luke Donald doubled No. 1, but he's played nicely since then and he's only three back after a birdie at 14.

3:22PM: Spieth bounces back with a birdie on 9, he's at 6 under and four behind DJ after he fails to convert another good look at birdie. Matsuyama birdies 9 to shoot 6-under 30 on the front.

3:08PM: Schwartzel birdies 10 and he's at 8 under, two off the lead.

3:03PM: Spieth gives his birdie right back with a three-putt bogey on No. 8. He's back to 5 under, five behind DJ.

2:52PM: You get a birdie! You get a birdie! You get birdie! Birdies all around for the DJ-Spieth-Matsuyama group at No. 7. DJ takes the solo lead at 10 under.

2:47PM: In case you were wondering ... that's 2 a.m. EDT. Set your alarm clocks accordingly.

2:41PM: So good, in fact that it only took him one hole to get that stroke back.

2:34PM: So Spieth has been pretty, pretty good at the majors this year.

2:30PM: Luke Donald quietly climbing the leaderboard with birdies on two of his last three.

2:21PM: Tiger now 14 off the pace.

2:15PM: Spieth on No. 5 had to punch out of a fairway bunker and then putt from on the green through some rough and back onto the green. Makes bogey. Welcome to the Old Course. Meanwhile, DJ makes another birdie to tie for the lead.

2:02PM: Spieth and Matsuyama both miss the fairway in the same spot at the par-5 fifth hole. Spieth's finds the bunker and he has no shot at the green, Matsuyama's ball ends up just between the two bunkers in short grass. Just been that kind of day so far.

1:52PM: DJ drops in a tough birdie putt on No. 4, using a little body English to get it in the right side of the hole. The first birdie of the day in the group, you know, except for Matsuyama, who just made his fourth straight.

1:40PM: Not that you would see it if you are watching on TV, but the third player in the Dustin Johnson-Jordan Spieth group, Hideki Matsyama, is stealing the show early after starting with three straight birdies.

1:43PM: Plenty of exciting action on the course right now. And Danny Willett is watching it from the top of the leadeboard.

1:32PM: Tiger yells at wind to "hit it!" after crushing his second shot at No. 2 long and left. The wind doesn't listen.

1:30PM: And just when you think DJ has the advantage, Spieth throws a dart at the pin on 3, but misses the birdie putt. Another couple of routine pars.

1:24PM: DJ absolutely rips one down the third fairway. Two pars a piece so far for him and Spieth. Tiger also makes par on No. 1

1:13PM: And ... he's off. Which way will The Needle move on Day 2?

1:11PM: Rickie Fowler also wraps up a 71. One of the Open favorites after his Scottish Open win last week is well off the pace at 1-under par.

1:10PM: Faldo rebounds with 71 after 83 on Day 1. And, as the European Tour points out, he id it in the same sweater as the first time he won the Open.

1:01PM: Lee Westwood off to an inspiring start:

12:58PM: Sir Nick Faldo getting an emotional send off from the St. Andrews crowd. Won his second of three claret jugs at the Old Course 25 years ago.

12:55PM: If you think Adam Scott's resurgence has something to do with Stevie William's return to his bag, you're not alone:

12:50PM: And they're off ... Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson (and Hideki Matsuyama) have started their second rounds.

12:46PM: Jaco Van Zyl shot 69 Friday despite what Mark Calcavecchia describes here:

12:41PM: Matt Kuchar just made triple bogey at the 17th to drop to even par. The projected cut line is currently 1 under, but that is likely to go higher.

12:37PM: In case you missed it, here's Tom Watson's first shot in his final Open round.

12:28PM: Twenty minutes and counting until Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama tee off in Round 2.

12:24PM: Adam Scott is looking for his first claret jug, but his caddie ...

12:20PM: Adam Scott birdies the 18th and finishes 36 holes at 7 under par. His 5-under 67 is the second lowest score (Russell Henley, 66) so far today.

12:08PM: Ba-dum-bum ...

12:01PM: Crossing the noon hour on the East Coast, here's where things stand at the 144th Open Championship:

11:54AM: Yesterday was Adam Scott's 35th birthday. He just parred the 16th to remain at 6 under, just three off the lead.

11:50AM: Ivor Robson announces Tom Watson for - again, likely - the final time on the first tee. Watson splits the fairway.

11:42AM: Tom Watson gets set to tee off for, likely, his 128th and final round in the Open Championship.

11:32AM: If Willett can maintain his lead ...

11:24AM: Phil Mickelson responds with a birdie at the 13th hole. He's back to 4 under, five off the lead.

11:22AM: Meanwhile, the projected cut line is at even par ... for the moment. The top 70 and ties qualify for the final two rounds. John Daly, the 1995 champion at St. Andrews, shot 74 Friday to finish two rounds at 1 over par.

11:17AM: Will Willett's leading total hold up? Golf Channel analyst Arron Oberholser thinks so.

11:11AM: Danny Willett is in the house and in the lead. He birdies the 18th to shoot 69 and finish at 9 under par.

11:04AM: A pair of players who start the day at 6 under are now in action. Robert Streb parred his first two holes while Retief Goosen is teeing off on No. 1.

11AM: Danny Willett keeps sliding back to the field. He bogeys the 17th to drop to 8 under, one in front of Z. and D. Johnson and Marc Warren.

10:58AM: Zach Johnson makes birdie on 18 to join Marc Warren in the clubhouse at 7 under, two shots back of Willett. A second-round 71 for Johnson and 3-under 69 for Warren, both of whom share second place with overnight leader Dustin Johnson.

10:55AM: A disastrous double bogey at No. 11 for Phil Mickelson, who needed two to get out of the bunker and then nearly three-putted for triple. Lefty goes from four to now six shots back.

10:50AM: Although players have been back on the course for six hours, it's long-since stopped raining, the sun is out, and the ball is bouncing, there remains standing water on parts of the golf course.

10:42AM: Adam Scott is making a move up the leaderboard, after playing his first four holes 4 under. Now in a tie for fourth at minus-6, just three shots behind leader Danny Willett. Scott, who should already have an Open win to his credit, is in search of his second major and his first worldwide win since the Crowne Plaza at Colonial last May.

10:35AM: This afternoon figures to be the final round of Tom Watson's Open Championship career. The five-time champion will tee off at 4:48 local time (11:48 ET) and may just squeeze in his round before the sun finally sets on St. Andrews. A look back at Watson's outstanding Open history right here.

10:24AM: Two strong front nines from Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson. Stenson birdied four of his first five holes to go out in 31 while Mickelson turned in a bogey-free 33. Iceman to minus-3 and Lefty to minus-4.

10:14AM: A little ingenuity from Graeme McDowell, who's watching the coverage on the BBC and taking notes on the breaks around today's hole locations. McDowell turned in an even-par 72 Thursday and tees off this afternoon at 4:37 local time (11:37 a.m. EDT).

10:05AM: Latest look at the leaderboard shows that just three of the top 14 players are currently on the golf course. Everyone else, who had the benefit of playing in the morning wave on Thursday, will face some stiff winds this afternoon.

9:54AM: And a great Scot he was.

Even more eye opening:

9:46AM: It's so windy, Phil just opted to putt with his hat off. Thoughts go out to @MickelsonHat. Hang in there, folks.

9:40AM: A little background here on Mr. Willett for those of you who might not be as familiar with him. The 27-year-old Englishman cracked this year's field via his finish in the Race to Dubai last year and his top-50 position in the Official World Golf Ranking back in May. Willett has two European Tour victories to his credit, the last coming at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa in December. American fans may best and most recently know him for his third-place finish at this year's WGC-Match Play.

9:30AM: At the end of play last night, we expected two things in Round 2 - a downpour in the morning and wild winds in the afternoon. We got the rain this morning, and now it sounds like the rest is coming:

9:23AM: Speaking of Faldo, neat little nugget from earlier:

9:15AM: Danny Willett has opened up a three-shot lead thanks a birdie at 10 and two Zach Johnson bogeys at 11 and 12. The last Englishman to win the Open? Nick Faldo in 1992.

9:05AM: And in the event you require moving pictures:

9:01AM: In case you are just settling in at work on the East Coast or just waking up on the West Coast, these photos will give you a pretty good idea of what you missed overnight during a three-hour delay at St. Andrews.

8:55AM: Six birdies. That's the number of birdies made by Jaco Van Zyl who was in the first group out on Friday. He shot 79-69 over the first two rounds.

8:50AM: Let's hope you didn't jinx him.

8:42AM: If you're fortunate enough to be at St. Andrews this week, you know there's no such thing as a bad seat. But, some are better than others. Our own Bailey Mosier found the prime perch for watching this week. To view the article, click here.

8:38AM: And just a few minutes later ... Danny Willett makes birdie at the ninth and is your solo Open leader at 9 under.

8:30AM: Leaderboard update at half past the 8 o'clock hour:

8:16AM: On a roll. A Zach Johnson nugget for you:

8:07AM: Our favorite part of the Open coverage.

8:03AM: He came prepared.

8:00AM: Fowler, Faldo and Rose are now off and running in their second rounds at St. Andrews.

7:57AM: That's two birdies in a row for Zach Johnson after opening with four straight pars. ZJ is now tied for the lead with Danny Willett at 8 under.

7:47AM: So you're saying there's a chance? Is the world ready for a Danny Willett win?

7:41AM: The Willett to win! Danny Willett made birdie at No. 5 and is now the solo leader at 8 under. Meanwhile, Zach Johnson also made birdie at 5 and is tied for second at 7 under.

7:32AM: Let's get this party started. Scott, Kaymer, Walker teed off mere minutes ago.

7:23AM: In case you're wondering ... DJ and Jordan Spieth tee off at 12:48 p.m. Tiger Woods tees off at 1:10 p.m. Phil Mickelson is out at 7:47 a.m. (roughly 20 minutes from now).

7:20AM: There are now 6 guys at 6 under par. With birdies on his last two holes, Marc Warren joins the bunch.

7:13AM: The afternoon forecast calls for winds around 20 mph.

7:05AM: Hole locations for Friday's round:

7:01AM: It's sunny in St. Andrews now, but here's a look at the crew cleaning up the rain Friday morning.

6:55AM: And just like that, we have a new co-leader. Danny Willett is now tied with Dustin Johnson for the lead. DJ tees off at 12:48 p.m. ET.

6:50AM: Slow and steady wins the race. We don't know if it wins the 144th Open Championship, but Zach Johnson begins his Friday round with two pars after opening in 6-under 66 on Thursday.

6:42AM: Torrential rain flooded St. Andrews Friday morning, delaying play for more than three hours. For the full story, click here. To see images of the weather delay, click here.

6:30AM: Good morning from St. Andrews! Day 2 of the 144th Open Championship is underway.

Getty Images

Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”