TROON, Scotland The Latest on the British Open (all times local):
Rory McIlroy is making his move on the leaderboard at Royal Troon. So is Jordan Spieth, but they’re going in opposite directions.
McIlroy made back-to-back birdies to reach 5 under for the tournament through seven holes, five shots behind Phil Mickelson and in a tie for fifth. It was his third birdie of the day as the wind picked up.
For Spieth, it has been a struggle all day.
He has hit only two greens in regulation and took double bogey on the par-3 eighth “Postage Stamp” hole when it took him two shots to get out of a bunker left of the green. Spieth was at 3 over. Not only was that 13 shots behind, he was in danger of missing the cut.
Henrik Stenson is only one stroke behind Phil Mickelson at the British Open.
Stenson shot a 6-under 65 for the lowest round of the morning starters and is 9 under. It was the Swedish player’s lowest round in 12 Opens.
Meanwhile, 2001 champion David Duval has withdrawn because of injury before starting his second round. He shot 82 on Thursday.
Phil Mickelson almost aced the “Postage Stamp,” made his first bogeys of the week, and shot 2-under 69 to stay out in front at rainy Royal Troon.
Mickelson walked off the 18th green at 10 under and with a two-shot lead over Henrik Stenson, who had three holes left in his second round. After making the turn in 33, Mickelson led by five shots but the 46-year-old American bogeyed Nos. 12 and 15.
Among the highlights of Mickelson’s second round was his tee shot on No. 8, the famous par-3 nicknamed the “Postage Stamp,” that rolled to within inches of the cup for a birdie.
Mickelson was the eighth player to open a major with a 63. Of that eight, he was only the third to break par in his next round.
Ben Curtis visited three separate bunkers and came away with an ugly 10 at the third hole at Royal Troon.
All in all, the 2003 champion at Royal St. George’s had six shots in the sand, starting with taking three to get out of a fairway bunker after pushing his tee shot left. His fifth shot found the front-left greenside bunker. He took two shots to get the ball out, only to see it roll into another bunker in front of him.
Curtis chipped onto the green and two-putted for 10. The 39-year-old American wound up shooting 83 in his second round and was 18 over par.
Curtis was chuckling about his misfortune afterward, but said he wasn’t at the time, saying “I wanted to go jump in the ocean.”
French golfer Clement Sordet woke up at 4 a.m. on Friday to text messages asking if he was safe following the tragedy in his hometown of Nice.
In fact, Sordet was in Scotland for the British Open at Royal Troon, but his girlfriend, Marie, and her family were in Nice and celebrating Bastille Day when a truck plowed through revelers gathered along the Riviera city’s waterfront promenade. At least 84 people were killed.
Sordet says the tragedy “happened about 500 meters from where I live” and that “it’s a really sad situation. I give my thoughts to all the families and to the people who died.”
He says his girlfriend and her family are safe.
Sordet used a blue marker to write the words “Pray For Nice” on his cap for his second round. He was in the first group out for the second round at 6:35 a.m. He shot 4-over 75.
Phil Mickelson has picked right up where he left off in the opening round of the British Open.
Mickelson nearly aced the famous “Postage Stamp,” his ball rolling right up next to the cup at the 123-yard eighth hole for a tap-in birdie.
Lefty has three birdies in the round to push his score to 11 under – five shots clear of the field as he approaches the far end of the course. Of course, he’s coming off a 63 in the opening round, when he nearly became the first player in major championship history to shoot 62. A birdie putt at the 18th hole lipped out.
Royal Troon is now being pelted by rain on a cool, windy morning – a far cry from the sunny conditions on Thursday.
The French flag was at half-staff after the carnage in Nice, casting a somber mood on the second round of the British Open.
Phil Mickelson began Friday with a three-stroke lead after shooting an 8-under 63 at Royal Troon, nearly becoming the first play to shoot 62 in a major championship. At the 18th hole, a 16-foot birdie putt lipped out of the cup, costing Lefty a truly historic round.
In Nice, a large white truck plowed through Bastille Day revelers, killing at least 84 people in what was the third major attack on France in two years.
Two French golfers were in the British Open field: Victor Dubuisson and Clement Sordet. The 23-year-old Sordet used a blue marker to write the words “Pray For Nice” on his cap. The French flag that flies above the grandstand at the 18th green, along with the banners of every other nation represented in the 156-player field, was lowered to half-staff.
After a gorgeous sunny day with only a light breeze to start the tournament, the second round began under ominous gray skies, the wind off the Irish Sea having picked up significantly. Rain was expected later in the day.
Mickelson birdied the par-5 fourth hole to push his score to 9 under, looking to take advantage before the really foul weather moved in. Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark made a couple of early birdies to get within three shots of the leader.
Phil Mickelson arrives at Royal Troon to a familiar question: What will he do next?
He became the eighth player to begin a major championship with a 63, and Mickelson said it’s never easy to follow that up the next day. History would agree. Of the seven previous players to open with a 63 in a major, only two of them managed to break par the next day. Greg Norman shot 69 in the second round of the 1996 Masters, and Raymond Floyd also shot 69 in the second round of the 1982 PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
Only one other person has opened with a 63 at the British Open. That was Rory McIlroy at St. Andrews in 2010 in calm conditions. Weather arrived the next day in the form of strong wind, and McIlroy shot 80.
Royal Troon doesn’t look anything like Phil Mickelson remembers from his near-historic opening round in the British Open.
Some 12 hours after Mickelson opened with a record-tying 63 for a three-shot lead, the sky was lead gray instead of blue. The sun was nowhere to be found. Most significantly, the wind was blowing from an entirely different direction.
And yes, rain was in the forecast.
Mickelson, who narrowly missed a 62 when his birdie putt on the last hole dipped out of the cup, played in the morning when the rain and wind were expected. Mickelson said he looks forward to the weather challenge, and that’s why he comes over to the Scottish Open a week early.
Martin Kaymer of Germany also plays in the morning.