The first round of the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club was a fruitful one for much of the field. With tougher conditions and fewer low scores to be had Friday, though, many big names have struggled to find their rhythm in the second round.
Since the course at Hoylake is influenced so much by the weather, it is tough to know how it will play from one day to the next. A few players have been able to brave the windy conditions and post strong scores, but the opposite has been true for most others.
Along with a look at the current leaderboard, here are a few fairly high-profile players who simply didn't get the job done Friday.
Notable Day 2 Struggles
Following a sparkling three-under 69 in the first round, Boo Weekley firmly established himself as a British Open contender. He started the second round just three shots behind leader Rory McIlroy and had a chance to close that gap as his round started early. Unfortunately for Weekley, though, things went south in a hurry.
Weekley simply couldn't get anything going Friday as he ended the round with seven bogeys and no birdies for a seven-over 79. That erased his yeoman's work from the first round, and then some, as he sits at four-over for the tournament. With the projected cut line at two over par, Weekley is very much in danger of seeing his tournament end early unless he gets a bunch of help.
The fall from grace was surprising since Weekley went from the top 10 to no man's land over the course of one round. Perhaps it should have been expected, though, since Weekley was dealing with a wrist injury during his strong first round, according to PGATour.com's Amanda Balionis:
Boo Weekley has been dealing with a wrist injury for the last 3 months, started bothering him today around the 11th, still in at -3 #TheOpen— Amanda Balionis (@Amanda_Balionis) July 17, 2014
He was able to battle through it Thursday, but Weekley's wrist issues, coupled with high winds, made for a rough day to say the least. Weekley is an exciting and entertaining player, so most fans would have loved to see him this weekend, but things just didn't go his way during the second round.
Although he isn't dominant in any one area, Zach Johnson always seems to be a factor at major tournaments. He is a former Masters champion and 11-time winner on the PGA Tour, so he knows how to hang around and close things out. Unfortunately for Johnson, he put himself in peril of not even lasting long enough to see the weekend at the Open Championship.
Johnson registered a solid one-under 71 in the first round, which put him within striking distance of the leaders. That score came under fairly ideal conditions, but things got much tougher in the second round. Johnson was very happy with the course after the opening round, and he was hopeful that it would play the same way Friday, per USA Today's Steve DiMeglio.
You could still manage your way around the golf course when the wind picked up. The course is playing great. It's playing fair, beyond fair. And if you hit good shots you got rewarded. ... I hope we have benign conditions tomorrow, at least for nine holes. I'll just go out there, take what I can, not force anything. The greens are perfect and if I can get the putter going, it could be a very good day.
Johnson's wishes didn't come to fruition in the second round, as high winds made it very difficult for most players to post good scores. Johnson was a victim of that and ended up shooting a three-over 75 to put him two over par for the tournament.
He was right on the projected cut line when he left the course, which means that he will have to sweat things out for the rest of the day. The course is playing so tough that Johnson has a pretty good chance of making the cut, but getting back into contention may be too much to ask.
Webb Simpson has gone from relative unknown to regular major contender over the past few years. Simpson truly announced his arrival when he won the U.S. Open in 2012, and the expectations have grown for him since then. Simpson's major performances haven't been great following that, though, and his 2014 British Open showing is one he would rather forget.
Simpson didn't put himself in an ideal position after shooting a four-over 76 in the first round. As the course and conditions got tougher Friday, Simpson struggled even more. He followed up that disappointing opening-round score with a five-over 77 in the second round to put him at nine-over for the tournament.
Whose second-round struggles are most surprising?
That essentially guarantees that Simpson is out of the tournament, which is disappointing considering the fact that he wasn't having a terrible second round prior to the final three holes. Simpson was just one-over for the day before carding double bogeys on two of his final three holes. Simpson may have missed the cut regardless, but those four lost strokes proved to be the deathblow.
Simpson now has to regroup and prepare for the PGA Championship in a few weeks. It won't be easy for him to put such a poor tournament behind him, but he has to do everything possible to ensure that it doesn't impact his confidence moving forward.
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