Webb Storms to the Top with 62
Webb, who won last week's Australian Open at Royal Sydney, will be looking for her sixth win in the Masters on Sunday.
'It was one of the best putting rounds I've had for a long time,' said Webb. 'I think I could have putted with my eyes shut and it still would have gone in. I made just about everything I looked at.'
For most of the day, the others golfers in the field, including second-round leader Ahn Sun-ju of South Korea, could only watch as Webb moved up the leaderboard. When her name finally got to the top of a manual greenside scoreboard off to the side of the 18th green, a large cheer went up in the stands.
Webb and Ellis have 15-under totals of 201. Webb started the day seven shots behind second-round leader Ahn, who had a 72 Saturday to fall into a tie for fourth.
Fellow South Korean Shin Ji-yai was alone in third after a 66, one stroke back of Webb and Ellis.
Ellis, an LPGA veteran, had a 68 Saturday and took a share of the lead when she birdied the par-5 15th, her third birdie in a row. Her 12-footer for birdie on 17 that would have given her the outright lead fell inches short.
Coming back from nearly two years on the sideline because of a serious rib injury and having to cope with the illness of her father, who had a leg amputated last year due to cancer, Ellis hasn't been in many final groups lately on a Sunday.
'I'm not going to say I won't be nervous, because I will,' Ellis said. 'I'll take it as it is and play my game.'
Cristie Kerr of the United States was in the fourth-place tie with Ahn and Lotta Wahlin of Sweden (69) after a 66, three back of Webb. Kerr has finished in the top 10 of 11 straight tournaments.
'I've been consistent, and hopefully I can putt better tomorrow and give myself a chance of winning,' said Kerr, who had 19 top-10 finishes on the LPGA tour last year and won three tournaments.
Webb's birdies came mostly in two spurts -- four of five holes on the front nine, and three of the final four on the back.
On the 17th, a lob pitch from the rough clipped a tree but managed to land on the green. Webb then made a 15-footer for her 10th birdie of the day.
On 18, her attempt to equal her career-best round of 61 fell short when her approach went into the bunker. Her shot out went inches past the flag, and she made the 4-footer coming back to salvage par.
Webb held the previous Royal Pines course record with Japan's Ai Miyazato and American Tiffany Joh. Webb shot 63 in 1999, and Miyazato and Joh matched that in 2005.
There are 11 players within six shots of the lead, including American Brittany Lincicome, who had a 66 Saturday to move to 9-under, tied for eighth.
'I finally got my putter going,' said Lincicome, whose seven birdies all came from within 10 feet. 'I went to the practice green last night and discovered I was standing too far from the ball. The small adjustment made all the difference.'
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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.
The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.
The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.
This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.
After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.
“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”
Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.
Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.
“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”
Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.
To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.
“More punishment,” he said.
DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.
Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.
Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.
Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.
It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.
With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.
Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.
TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:
• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.
• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.
• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery.
• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”
• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.
• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.
• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.