Australia’s Cameron Smith was unapologetic on the Old Course in St. Andrews on Friday morning. The second round of 64 (-8) put him at the top of the rankings at the start of the weekend.
His cumulative 131 shots (-13) allow him to be two shots ahead of the American Cameron Young. Cameron was in the lead after the first round.
“That’s a favorable position,” Smith said. I feel like I’ve found myself in this kind of posture a lot over the last few years, without ever really being able to complete the job.
Smith’s day started on the right foot. He set out his intentions from the first hole by pulling off a 47-foot birdie run.
Smith made five birdies on the first nine before adding another birdie to the 10th hole. Also, an eagle at the 14e hole thanks to a long roll. On the 14the hole, it was a 64-foot roll that allowed Smith to go to -13.
“I hit a very good shot, but I didn’t expect the ball to end at the bottom of the cup. I just wanted to get close enough to the hole to ensure the birdie,” Smith explained after his round.
After an initial round of 66, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy continued his good work on Friday. He did a round of 68 to stay three shots behind Smith and the lead.
Rory made six birdies and only committed two bogeys in his day. He had a good sequence to attack the back nine with three consecutive birdies between the 10th and the 12th hole.
McIlroy shares third place with Viktor Hovland at -10. Hovland handed over a card of 66, which equals his career-best score at the British Open.
“I have to get back on the field and play my way over the next two days. That’s all I can control,” McIlroy said.
If Cam Smith goes back on the field and plays two more rounds like the ones he just recorded, I’ll have a hard time winning this tournament. I must go back, do my best, focus on myself, and hope it’s enough (to win).
The player of LIV golf Dustin Johnson occupies the 5th rank thanks to the second round of 67. DJ even momentarily took control of the tournament at a certain time of the day.
After starting his day with a bogey, Johnson made no missteps, and he made six birdies.
“I’ve been very solid,” Johnson said. “I drifted well, played good shots with the irons, and gave myself many chances of birdies. I missed a few short rolls for a birdie, but otherwise, I did well.
Johnson is trying to triumph at the British Open for the first time in his career. If he wins the tournament, it will be the third major title in his career. Following the U.S. Open in 2016 and the Masters in 2021.
The most recent winner of the U.S. Open, Matt Fitzpatrick, bounced back from a lackluster first round. He carded a 66 and is seven shots behind Smith.
Canada’s Corey Conners earned his ticket to the weekend’s rounds with a 71 (-1) score. His compatriot Mackenzie Hughes did not use the same luck. But, he could not avoid the cleaver with a card of 75.
Several big names also ended their weekends prematurely. Tiger Woods (+9), Phil Mickelson (+5), Brooks Koepka (+4), and Collin Morikawa (+1) did not advance to the last two rounds.
After an initial round of 78, Woods did better with a score of 75, but nothing that could allow him to prolong the fun.
It was to the warm cheers that Woods walked down the aisle of the 18th hole. Yet, he assured me that he was not retiring.
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