With the sun and wind drying out Muirfield to a point where the greens act like concrete more than grass, under-par scores were few and far between on Friday.
As a result, Tiger Woods was able to shoot an even-par 71 on Friday and move two strokes closer to the lead, as he is now just one stroke off the pace.
Miguel Angel Jimenez protected his three-under opening-round score with a gritty even-par day, which has put him atop the field as the 36-hole leader. This is especially impressive considering he went off in the afternoon group, and playing conditions definitely got harder as the day progressed.
Making things even harder for the players was the fact that the wind had switched directions from the opening day. All of this sets up for a wild weekend of major golf that is sure to feature plenty of movement on the leaderboard.
Check out the tee times for Round 3, and then I'll offer up predictions for three notable players on the leaderboard.
2013 British Open Round 3 Tee Times
Tee times via GolfWeek.com.
3:10 a.m.: Shingo Katayama, Richard Sterne
3:20 a.m.: Carl Pettersson, Jonas Blixt
3:30 a.m.: K.J. Choi, Chris Wood
3:40 a.m.: Mikko Ilonen, Todd Hamilton
3:50 a.m.: Peter Senior, Mark Brown
4 a.m.: Geoff Ogilvy, Paul Lawrie
4:10 a.m.: Richie Ramsay, Thongchai Jaidee
4:20 a.m.: Boo Weekley, Gareth Wright
4:30 a.m.: K.T. Kim, a-Jimmy Mullen
4:45 a.m.: Josh Teater, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
4:55 a.m.: Keegan Bradley, Fred Couples
5:05 a.m.: Jason Dufner, Bud Cauley
5:15 a.m.: Bo Van Pelt, A-Matthew Fitzpatrick
5:25 a.m.: Russell Henley, Tim Clark
5:35 a.m.: Ernie Els, Graham Delaet
5:45 a.m.: Shane Lowry, Oliver Fisher
5:55 a.m.: Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington
6:05 a.m.: Sandy Lyle, Y.E. Yang
6:20 a.m.: Steven Tiley, Ken Duke
6:30 a.m.: George Coetzee, Thomas Bjorn
6:40 a.m.: Brandt Snedeker, Stewart Cink
6:50 a.m.: Matt Kuchar, Freddie Jacobson
7 a.m.: Marcus Fraser, Danny Willett
7:10 a.m.: Martin Kaymer, Eduardo De La Riva
7:20 a.m.: Gregory Bourdy, Graeme McDowell
7:30 a.m.: Stephen Gallacher, Kevin Streelman
7:45 a.m.: Ben Curtis, Bernd Wiesberger
7:55 a.m.: Shiv Kapur, Jamie Donaldson
8:05 a.m.: Branden Grace, Harris English
8:15 a.m.: Tom Lehman, Mark O’Meara
8:25 a.m.: Johnson Wagner, Hideki Matsuyama
8:35 a.m.: Jason Day, Hunter Mahan
8:45 a.m.: Justin Leonard, Phil Mickelson
8:55 a.m.: Ian Poulter, Bubba Watson
9:10 a.m.: Francesco Molinari, Webb Simpson
9:20 a.m.: Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel
9:30 a.m.: Darren Clarke, Jordan Spieth
9:40 a.m.: Ryan Moore, Angel Cabrera
9:50 a.m.: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello
10 a.m.: Martin Laird, Dustin Johnson
10:10 a.m.: Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood
10:20 a.m.: Henrik Stenson, Miguel Angel Jimenez
Miguel Angel Jimenez Will Hang Around the Top of the Leaderboard
Jimenez, 49, is questing to not only win his first major, but become the oldest major champion ever. Not that he needs any of this for his swag.
On range after my round Miguel a Jimenez walked past me with aviator sunglasses, cigar and bottle of wine. Maybe he is the coolest man alive— Keegan Bradley (@Keegan_Bradley) July 18, 2013
I have a hard time believing he can keep his body together for four rounds to maintain his lead. The bandage on his arm tells us of his tennis elbow. Also, it was just back in April when he made his first start since suffering a broken leg on the slopes.
That said, Jimenez is not doing anything that is unsustainable. He's just playing steady golf by keeping the ball in play and then using a masterful short game to handle these difficult greens.
He is averaging just 1.53 putts per green, but he is also hitting only 58.3 of his greens in regulation.
I don't expect Jimenez to be in the lead after Round 3, but he won't be far off.
Round 3 Prediction: He will fire a 73 to sit at one-under for the tournament. That will have him tied for fourth.
Tiger Woods Will Take the Lead
Going off in the early group on Friday, Woods struggled with the speed of the greens. He missed several short putts he'd typically never miss.
However, therein lies one of Woods' biggest advantages: He is amazing with his flat iron on speedy greens, as ESPN's Rick Reilly points out:
Tiger Woods is the best fast-greens putter in history. He has 18 one-putts in 2 days. #OpenChampionship— Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) July 19, 2013
With the greens picking up speed as the day progresses, this will serve Woods well. All the leaders will be going off late in the day for the last two days, and everyone is going to struggle on these greens. I expect Woods to struggle the least.
Woods is leaving his driver in the bag as often as possible. This limits his chances at birdies, but he has still hit 66.7 percent of his greens in regulation. As long as that continues, he is going to be tough to beat.
Round 3 Prediction: Woods will card a 69 to move to four under for the tournament and sit in sole possession of first.
Ryan Moore Will Fall Way out of Contention
I hope this isn't true, but I fear it will be. I've been a Ryan Moore fan for a long time. We grew up in the same area, and I sometimes I play on local courses he owns. However, as I've followed him in the pros, he's let me down too many times in majors for me to expect anything else.
He's shown he can go as low as anyone; the problem is, he just hasn't been able to hold it together for four rounds in a major. On the brutal greens of Muirfield, I have a hard time seeing him figuring that out this tournament.
As evidence of this, Moore started off early on Friday and was fantastic. He was two under for his round up to the 15th hole. With the greens picking up pace, Moore played his final four holes at two-over.
I expect Moore to struggle through the third round and then salvage a bit of pride with a strong fourth round.
Round 3 Prediction: Moore will card a 78 to fall to seven over for the tournament and sit tied for 40th.
All scoring and stats information courtesy of the Open Championship's official site.