British Open Predictions 2013: Projecting Which Golfer Will Lead After Each Day
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The British Open is the most prestigious of the four golf majors, and it has produced many an unlikely champion over the years.
Last year, Ernie Els, at the age of 42, won the Open Championship after third-round leader Adam Scott blew a four-shot lead over the field.
Thankfully for Woods and his compatriots on the PGA Tour, the forecast for this year's tournament promises to be much more inviting (h/t Weather.com).
Predicting how the world's best golfers will fare in a major championship isn't an exact science, but it's fun to try. With that in mind, here's one man's vision of how the four rounds will pan out when the players hit the links at Muirfield on July 18, 2013.
Round 1 Leader: Sergio Garcia
You can't have a major championship without Garcia making some early noise.
Sergio takes the first-round lead: Buying or selling?
When Garcia is playing loose and having fun, he's one of the world's best golfers. Once the bright lights are upon him in the latter rounds, he falls apart. But that's a story for another day.
On Thursday, July 18, Garcia will shine.
He'll hit fairways with regularity, make jaw-dropping approach shots and make enough birdies to overcome his inevitable hiccups along the way.
By the time Round 1 is complete, Garcia will take the lead into Friday with a five-under-par first-round score of 66.
Round 2 Leader: Phil Mickelson
Mickelson is hot right now, and if I were a betting man, I'd put money on him to outdo Tiger Woods by a long shot at the 2013 British Open.
"Lefty" is coming off an impressive performance at the 2013 Scottish Open, where he outlasted Brendan Grace in a one-hole playoff to win his second tournament of the year. He also finished in second place at the 2013 U.S. Open and the FedEx St. Jude Classic, and he seems to be in quite the good groove these days.
After posting a solid round of two under par on Thursday, Mickelson will come out on Friday with guns blazing. While the rest of the field struggles to make par, "Lefty" will shoot a four-under-par round of 67 and take a one-stroke lead over the field at six under par.
Round 3 Leader: Graeme McDowell
After staying under the radar with two straight rounds of one under par, McDowell will emerge as a legitimate contender to win this year's British Open.
Will McDowell be a leader at any point in the 2013 British Open?
The Northern Irishman finished last year's British Open in a tie for fifth place, and he's been hot at times this season, winning three tournaments between the PGA Tour and European Tour.
In his tuneup for the British Open, McDowell won the French Open over a loaded European Tour field.
He'll shoot a brilliant five-under-par round of 66 in Round 3, putting himself atop the leaderboard by one stroke over the field at seven under par heading into Sunday.
Round 4 Leader and 2013 British Open Champion: Phil Mickelson
Mickelson is due to win a British Open, and after suffering through another disappointing second-place finish at the 2013 U.S. Open, he will summon the fortitude and skill needed to do so.
In the scenario laid out before you, Mickelson would have trudged through the third round on Saturday with a round of even par, putting him just one shot off McDowell on Sunday.
Most likely scenario would be...
The two of them would be the final pair to hit the links in the final round, and both savvy veterans would have their fair share of ups and downs.
In the end, however, Mickelson's newly acquired skills on links golf courses (as his victory at the Scottish Open indicates) and always-sunny demeanor will garner him a victory.
Mickelson will post a final-round 68 to win the 2013 British Open with a final score of nine under par, two strokes better than McDowell and the rest of the field.
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