St. Andrews (Scotland) — The winner of the 150th Open. The mix of contenders at top of the leaderboard includes players at different stages of careers, with mixed expectations and urgency.
There are people who want to end a long wait with no major or world No. 1 Scottie SchefflerWhos in a blockbuster pair? Dustin JohnsonHes looking to complete a remarkable season with another feat on Saturday. The home hopes, the first-timers, as well as the LIV golfers hoping to attend the 150th Open celebrations are all part of the mix.
The Opens winner prediction is not easy, but it is fun.
St. Andrews has seen many fine battles throughout the years — there are reminders everywhere from stories of yesteryear on the famous course of the narrow margins that divide golfing ecstasy and a spot amongst those near-misses.
No one wants to be grouped together with someone they dont respect. Doug Sandersor a Costantino Roma come Sunday — those were the players who saw victory slip away at that crucial moment when they only had one hand on Claret Jug.
Before the tournament began, Rory McIlroyIt was stated that it would be Better for the game If the winner was not from LIV breakaway series. The CEO of the R&A, Martin Slumbers, tried to stay diplomatic in his pre-tournament news conference Wednesday when asked whether he agreed itd better if he wasnt handing the Claret Jug to someone from that group of players, saying: Whoever wins on Sunday is going to have their name carved in history. I will be welcoming them to the 18th green. This is a tournament of golf.
This closely followed him earlier, he said LIV was Hasting the perception of the sports.
Those who have joined the LIV series will be able to say that they are grateful. Heard and read the commentsEven though most people are insistent that they have, it doesnt include Sergio GarciaFriday was a Friday for Cathy, who stated, I don’t even know how to read anymore.
Two of the 24 LIV players listed here are near the top. Talor GoochHe is 6 shots behind the leader, but he said the criticism has energized them as a team.
Gooch stated, Everybody, it seems like, is against me, and thats okay. Its kinda brought us together, as you mentioned, I think, Gooch said.
Johnson, who was fifth and only 4 strokes behind Johnson, was less committed.
He stated, I would not know what you were saying or whether there was anything harmful being said. I don’t pay much attention to it.
It would be fascinating to see the sports reaction if the Claret Jug-holder on Sunday was from that group of players.
But those in the R&A clubhouse may be keeping their fingers crossed that the winner will be someone not involved in LIV. There are many candidates, including Cameron Smith Patrick CantlayWho wouldnt like to be known among the golfs nearly-men?
Its been 29 year since there was an Australian winner at The Open. Ironically, that was 29 years ago. Greg NormanThis is also LIV Golfs CEO, and Smith was not invited to this week’s celebrations despite his two wins in this event. Despite Smith setting an Open record of 13 under after two rounds, its hard to believe that Smith is under pressure. This was a significant improvement on the previous 12 under mark. Nick FaldoNorman and Louis Oosthuizen). Hes much more interested in talking about how hes binging on Peaky Blinders , or how hes keeping up with his Maroons performance in the rugby league’s State of Origin.
He has an expectation that he will win the Players Championship. His entire game is tuned to dance around the 112 bunkers of the Old Course.
I think that being late is the best thing. [Saturday]Smith stated that afternoon it would be firmer. I think there are going to more gnarly pinnings, and I think being intelligent out there is definitely going be the key to staying on top of the leaderboard.
Smith said that he is playing the best round of golf he has ever played. Cantlay is having the best year of his life. Hes ranked 4th in the Overall World Golf Ranking, adding a win to the three he won last year when he was awarded the FedEx Cup and PGA Tour Player Of The Year honors. He says he is in a good place ahead of the weekend, and that he will continue to play off trouble over two days.
You can also increase Viktor HovlandMcIlroy will play alongside McIlroy Saturday. This is for those looking to finally get their first major. McIlroy will be at 10 under, having finished his second-round 66 with a stunning eagle.
At 8 under, Scheffler is the worlds best player. He is also the reigning Masters champion. Schefflers triumph would place him in the elite club of those who have won two majors within a single year. Scheffler would have five tournament wins, and theres still time on the golf calendar. If he finishes Sunday at the top, he would be only the fifth person to accomplish that feat. Tiger Woods, Tom WatsonBen Hogan and Arnold Palmer. For someone who thinks hes. Not perceived to be the world No. 1That would be a lot of work for the man who spent the buildup watching YouTube videos from former winners to learn any hints about how to control the Old Course.
Britains Matt FitzpatrickHe is also chasing his second major of the season after he won the U.S. Open last week. He is now 6 under after the second round, having been level after his first, and he is definitely improving as the week progresses. He was playing alongside Woods both Thursday and Friday. Fitzpatrick thrived in the midst chaos around their grouping on Friday.
Fitzpatrick stated, I feel different. He was referring to the feeling of confidence that comes from winning a major. Fitzpatrick said, I can compete and I can win. [Winning a major]I dont let it hold me back. Its not something I am anxious about. I have to be more confident in myself. Its given me an extra boost of confidence.
His fellow countryman Tyrrell HattonHe doesnt lack confidence. Hes been careful to keep his rambunctiousness under control this week. Although he did throw a ball into a burn Thursday, he is now at 8 under.
McIlroy is however the main hope for many.
Sheila Walker, Old Tom Morris’ great-great granddaughter, hopes for a British winner. It has been 22 years since they had one at St. Andrews in The Open. This is a throwback to Faldos victory in 1990. Many thought McIlroy was the man to end the wait. McIlroys impressive, judicious 6-under-66 on Thursday saw him post 68 on Friday to finish third.
McIlroy stated that McIlroy felt pretty much in control of everything.
McIlroys last major win was eight years ago. He played some amazing golf when he came to St. Andrews. He would love to be able to end the wait and exorcise the demons he experienced seven years ago when he was the defending Open champion.
McIlroy said, I just have to go out and do my game and play golf over the next two day and thats all that 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. I have to do my best and not worry about myself. I hope that is enough.
Long waits are a common problem. Adam ScottHe is also in the same boat, having won a major in 2013, but is still in the mix at 7 under. He also wants to lay to rest some previous pain, having dropped a 4-shot lead with four holes remaining in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
Scott stated that Fridays statement was anytime I think of letting one slip through mine hands, it hurts. It would be thrilling if I shot an exciting round. [on Saturday]To tee-off with a legitimate feeling that its in contention, not just because I havent been in that situation for a major for quite a while, but also because I have one on this jug that I feel like, and would like to have two.
There were always people who were at slightly higher odds going into The Open. This competition has a good record of surprise winners. Cameron Young Sahith TheegalaBoth have a chance. Young is the only player in second place, two shots behind Smith. Smith will be playing in Saturdays final pairing. Theegala is tied eighth and six shots back.
Young stated that Its obviously an exceptional place for golfers. Particularly competitive golfers playing one our greatest championships at one of our oldest, finest golf courses is a lot fun. But Ill be down and trying to do my job the next few day.
One local takeaway shop offers a Munch Box which is basically a combination of all the items, making it ideal for those who have trouble choosing what to eat. This weekends leaderboard features Munch Box proportions.
St. Andrews is the place where golf fairy tales are told. Some of the greatest golfers have said goodbye to the Swilcan Bridge championship. There are others who have made their career here. Some have experienced heartbreak that would endanger their careers.
The person who finishes first on Sundays leaderboard will have shown that they were able to keep their cool and navigate each of the Old Courses championship-ending hazards. Everything has led me to this, it said above the grandstand on Sunday 18th. The unpredictability of the championship means that no one knows where the story will take them or what their outcome will be on Sunday night.