Price Makes a Move in South Africa
After a slow start to his round which saw him 1 over par through nine holes at the Lost City Golf Club, the Zimbabwean clicked into gear and worked his way to the top of the leaderboard with an impressive display of ball striking on a back nine which yielded four birdies for a 3-under-par 69 and a total of 5 under par.
Price leads the tournament by two strokes over a group of six players at 3 under.
The two courses again combined for an incredibly tough day, with the halfway cut falling on a staggering 7 over par ' the highest in the nine-year history of this event and certainly one of the highest in the history of the Sunshine Tour.
But after two days of brutal rough and tough pin placements, and with only 12 players under par for the tournament, Prices class is hard to ignore and his chances of a third win in this event impossible to overlook.
At the start of the week, Price spoke of his belief that a fourth major was still within his grasp at the age of 47, particularly The Open Championship and U.S. Open which will be played at Royal Troon and Shinnecock Hills, respectively, this year ' courses which suit Prices game.
His back nine performance at the Lost City on Friday certainly corroborated that.
I felt like I found some inspiration today, said Price, who last week paid his good friend David Leadbetter a visit in order to fine tune his game for what he hopes will be a good start to 2004. It was really nice to play well again. I havent played nine holes so well in quite some time. I did pretty well to turn 1 over, and then I played super on the back nine. I drove the ball well, hit my irons well, putted well. I had four birdies, but it could easily have been six or seven.
The birdies he did collect featured a 9-iron to 10 feet at the 10th, a two-putt from 25 feet on the par-5 11th, a 6-iron to 18 feet on the short 15th, and a two-putt from 35 feet on the par-5 18th.
Ive worked hard with David and went to see him a couple of times in the last two weeks to try and get off on the right footing this year. Last year it seemed like as the year progressed my game got worse and worse,' he said. I really hope I will continue to hit the ball like I did on the back nine today. If I do I will have a good chance on the weekend.
Chris Williams, Grant Muller, Titch Moore, Adilson da Silva, Callie Swart and Darren Fichardt are all on three under. Des Terblanche carded the low round of the tournament, a solid 6-under 66 at the Lost City course, to finish at 1 under par.
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.