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Notes Dismal Showing for Ryder Cup Hopefuls

135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- Tom Lehman had plenty of reasons to be disgusted Friday at Royal Liverpool.
He celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his British Open victory by taking triple bogey on the seventh hole to tumble out of contention. Needing a birdie on the par-5 18th hole to make the cut, he took a bogey and was headed home.
Worse yet was the performance of his potential Ryder Cup team.
Of the Americans between Nos. 6 and 18 in the Ryder Cup standings, Vaughn Taylor was the only one who made the cut.
Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink spent two days playing practice rounds with captain Lehman, and neither broke par in the first two rounds. Lucas Glover (No. 10 in the standings), shot 73 and has not made the cut in a major this year.
Perhaps the most troubling was Davis Love III, who is 11th in the standings and is no guarantee to be a captain's pick.
Love went from the lead to missing the cut at The Players Championship. He finished outside the top 20 at the Masters, and now has missed the cut in the U.S. Open and the British Open. He wasn't even close at Hoylake, not making a birdie until the final hole for a 72 that put him at 3-over 147.
Fred Couples is No. 12 and started with a 70, appearing to cope with his ailing back. Then came a 76 in the second round, and he was gone.
Taylor birdied the final hole for a 71 to make the cut on the number.
The other ray of hope came from Chris DiMarco, who shot 65 and was three shots out of the lead. DiMarco started the year at No. 4 in the standings, but only one top 10 -- an eight-way tie for ninth at the Match Play Championship -- has sent him tumbling to No. 21.
'Hopefully, I can get some points,' DiMarco said. 'And if not, at least show Tom that my game is back and I'm ready to go. I know he knows the drive and the competitiveness in me is there, but he has to see some signs of good golf, and hopefully that will carry over to the weekend.'
DiMarco showed Lehman a pulse for two days. The rest of the Ryder Cup wannabes showed a flat line.
Even par wasn't enough to keep playing at Royal Liverpool.
Birdies by Vaughn Taylor, then Andrew Marshall, pushed the cut to 1-under 143 on Friday, the lowest for any major championship since the 1990 British Open, when the cut was 1-under 143 at St. Andrews.
Among those missing the cut were Vijay Singh, who started bogey-double bogey on his way to a 76. It was the first time the big Fijian has played only two rounds in a major since the '02 British Open at Muirfield.
It also was a major disappointment for Padraig Harrington and David Howell, two Europeans expected to contend this week. Harrington shot 75-74 and Howell, who is No. 10 in the world ranking, shot 76 to miss the cut by six shots.
'You have to accept the bad times with a pinch of salt like you do the good times,' said Howell, who won Europe's biggest tournament in May at the BMW Championship. 'I have had some good performances this year, but this one was one of my worst.'
John Daly began his week playing in the same pub that launched The Beatles.
He finished his week at Royal Liverpool on a long and winding road that led to a triple-bogey 8 on the final hole and a surprising departure.
Daly made an eagle on the par-5 16th and was 2 under for the tournament when he hit his driver well to the right and out-of-bounds on the closing hole. He reloaded from the tee and found the fairway, but trying to reach the green to limit the damage to a bogey, he hit fairway wood OB. He hit the green on his sixth shot, then took two putts for an 8.
Daly shot 73 and finished at 1-over 145.
Tom Watson and Fred Funk competed against each other two weeks ago in the U.S. Senior Open.
Now they get to play the weekend at the British Open.
Watson, a five-time British Open champion and the oldest player in the field at 56, was 4 under for the tournament until he stumbled at the end, taking bogey on the 16th and a double bogey on the 17th. Even so, he shot a 70 and goes into the weekend at 2-under 142, the third straight year he has made the cut in the British Open.
'My body is not in very good shape right now, and I'm favoring my back a little bit,' Watson said. 'It has been a struggle. But at least I planned my play pretty well today, and I made the best of it.'
Watson will defend his title in the Senior British Open next week at Turnberry.
Funk, who made his Champions Tour debut at the U.S. Senior Open, showed great fight at the end of a tough day. He opened with a triple bogey, and a double bogey on the 12th left him at 5 over for the round. But he birdied three of his last four holes for a 74 to make the cut on the number.
David Duval wasn't thrilled with Royal Liverpool when he arrived, but the links course is growing on him.
Duval made only one mistake -- a tee shot out-of-bounds at No. 3 for double bogey -- and had four birdies for his second straight 70, making the cut for the second straight major and leaving him in the middle of the pack at 4-under 140.
'I've just gotten very little out of it, but I've played really well,' Duval said. 'I'd be pleased if I could play as well the next couple of days as I have the first two. All I need to do is make a couple of putts and I could put up some good scores.'
Jack Nicklaus, the runner-up in 1967 the last time the British Open came to Royal Liverpool, thought the links course might be too short with bunkers not far enough from the tees to stop low scoring.
Tiger Woods led at 12-under 132, and Nicklaus was surprised the leading score wasn't better.
'I expected scores to be a lot lower than they are,' he said in an interview with TNT Sports. 'When I was here in May, there really wasn't much rough and there's been virtually no rain since. That's probably kept the scores up. If there was a little rain, the rough still probably wouldn't have gotten up very high, yet they could still keep the ball on the fairway and probably stop the ball on the greens.'
Kenneth Ferrie, who played in the final group at Winged Foot in the U.S. Open, withdrew Friday because of a bad back. ... In an unusual move by the Royal & Ancient, tickets for next year's British Open at Carnoustie will go on sale early and offered at 40 percent discounts for weekly badges. The price will be about $270. Tickets will be sold online at ... European Amateur champion Marius Thorp (142) and U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari were the only two amateurs to make the cut.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 135th Open Championship
  • Course Tour - Royal Liverpool
  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
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