ST. ANDREWS (Scotland) — While Tiger WoodsFriday, February 5, 2009: An emotional and early departure at St. Andrews Cameron SmithWe can only wonder if he will make his debut as an undisputed top player at the 150th Open.
Smith won the Players Championship in this years tournament and has since risen to No. Smith is currently ranked No. 3 in the world. His 8-under 64 at The Open gave his first major lead by 2 shots over PGA Tour rookie. Cameron Young. Rory McIlroyAnother shot was just behind.
Smith said, It is obviously a very good spot to stay in. I feel like I have been in this spot a lot over these past two years, but things just haven’t gone my way yet.
Young made some mistakes, but he was able to close with a birdie and a 69. This placed him in the last group with Smith heading into the weekend.
McIlroy received one of the most raucous cheers with his 25-foot birdie at the 17th Road Hole. He missed a birdie opportunity on the 18th. It was still important for him to continue his great start (66), with a solid round of (69).
He was tied with Viktor HovlandThe thrills continued with a performance by, who holled out from 139 yards on the par-4 15th green for eagle and finished with a birdie for his 66.
Smith was at 13-under-131, the lowest 36 hole score in The Open At St. Andrews.
Even a weekend with no Woods Who missed the cut after scoring a 3-over75?This is a great place to watch great theater.
Dustin JohnsonHe already has a Masters green jacket, and a U.S. Open Title at Oakmont. He played early in the best conditions of this week — light rain that took some heat out of Oakmonts Old Course, and then a warming sun — for an average score of 67. He was four shots behind. He was 4 shots back of Masters champion. Scottie SchefflerWith another 68.
Smith is quickly establishing a reputation for being a great putter. This makes him a great weapon on the greens at St. Andrews. He plays with no fear. He opened with three straight birdies before he began to pull away at the far end on the courses loop.
He hit an 18-foot putt on No. 7, made birdie from 30ft on the par-3 eighth, then drove the 10th fairway and two-putted from approximately 90ft for a third birdie in only four holes.
Smiths long eagle putt at the par-5 14th was the big blow. He looked like he had just rolled in a par-par. Hes a master of that game. This is his style.
I don’t get too excited or too mad. He said that he likes to be in the middle. Many people find it boring to watch. But thats exactly how I go about my game of golf.
McIlroy is on the other end, one of the most dynamic players his generation. McIlroy is considered one of the best candidates for filling the void left by Woods. He has four major wins and is always promising more.
Woods was not the only one to leave early. Collin MorikawaThe first defending champion to miss it since 1996. Darren Clarke2012. Phil MickelsonThe Celebration of Champions , the exhibition on Monday and the champions dinner on Tuesday were missed by him. He was not able to make the cut in the British Open for the third time.
McIlroy wants to be a part of the greats who won an Open at St. Andrews. He finished in the top ten in each of the majors this season. He won the Canadian Open last month. He feels he is playing consistently well.
Given his experience in majors, it would be easy for one to assume that Smith is exactly where he wants. Smith, who this year retook the No. Smith is the No. 1 player (Jon Rahm) at Kapalua and the strongest field in golf at the Players Championship.
McIlroy stated, I just need go out and play the game and play my golf over two days, and that is all I can do. Cam Smith shoots two more rounds, just like he did the first two. Im going have a hard time winning the tournament. So I have to just go out and do my best and worry about myself.
This story was contributed to by The Associated Press.