Jordan Spieth is only 19 years old, yet he's bettered most of the field at the 2013 British Open through two rounds of play.
A player who wasn't even invited until last weekend, when he won the John Deere Classic, Spieth wasn't necessarily expected to be a contender at Muirfield. But entering the weekend, there are only 10 players in front of the former Texas Longhorn star, who is just four shots off the lead at one-over par.
Heading into Saturday, Miguel Angel Jimenez leads the field at three-under par, while Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and two others are in a tie for second place at two-under par.
Spieth isn't the only unexpected contender, either. There are a few players who have played better than most predicted they would, but not all will keep the momentum going over the course of the next couple of rounds.
These players will continue to shine on Saturday, putting pressure on guys like Woods, Westwood and the rest of the world's top golfers contending for the Claret Jug in 2013.
Jordan Spieth (+1)
Through 14 holes on Friday, Spieth was one-under par. He was doing what he'd been doing since the start of play on Thursday, hitting greens with regularity and playing smart golf.
Unfortunately, the final four holes drew blood, and Spieth went four-over par to end his round. The young golfer certainly wasn't alone, however. Those final holes have been killers for most of the field the past couple of days.
Even after his disastrous finish, Spieth finished his second round having hit 80.56 percent of his greens in regulation—good for the No. 2 against the field.
He's just four strokes off the lead heading into the weekend and hasn't showed any inclination to fold under pressure thus far.
Dustin Johnson (-2)
A player whose game has always been good enough to win a major championship, Dustin Johnson has battled through injuries for the past few years.
After winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in early January, Johnson's game has been up and down since. He did manage to finish in 13th place at the Masters, but he really struggled at the U.S. Open and finished in 55th place with a score of 17-over par.
Needless to say, Johnson wasn't a real hot name heading into the British Open.
But the power-hitting American golfer made some waves this week, and after two rounds he's just one shot off the lead. And as noted by Taylor Made Golf, Johnson has the right attitude to continue playing well:
Though hitting fairways has never been Johnson's strength, he's managing to hit greens at a high rate, finishing the first two rounds in a tie for fourth place with 28 GIR. His natural high, arcing approach shots are perfectly suited for landing softly on the rock-hard greens at Muirfield.
If Johnson can get the hang of the speed of the greens and start making more putts, he'll be even more dangerous this weekend.
Charl Schwartzel (+1)
Thursday wasn't a day Charl Schwartzel would like to treasure in his heart forever.
In addition to the fact that he shot a four-over-par round of 75 that included two double bogeys, he made headlines after hurling his 6-iron in a surge of anger, snapping the club, as shown by Jamie Murray:
It would have been understandable if the South African had come out and had another bad round after so much frustration in Round 1, but he turned his fortunes around in impressive fashion.
Matching Westwood for the lowest round of the day at three-under par, Schwartzel dug deep and put together a nearly flawless round. He made four birdies on the day with just one bogey—one of the tidiest rounds by any player on Friday.
Even more impressive than his actual score is the way Schwartzel got to it.
Through two days, he's struggling to hit fairways and greens, but Schwartzel's short game has been on fire. He's averaging just 1.53 putts per hole, which is more than two-tenths better than the field average.
Look for more of the same on Saturday, as Schwartzel will continue moving up the leaderboard.
Note: Stats courtesy of TheOpen.com.
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