Following an eventful Friday at the 2014 British Open, the contenders have separated themselves from the pack and will take to the course at Royal Liverpool to move toward getting their hands on the Claret Jug.
The most notable story from the first two rounds has been how vastly different things are early compared to later.
Thursday's first round saw Rory McIlroy, the Molinari brothers, Tiger Woods and most of the leaders coming from the early groups. Friday was a similar story, though Dustin Johnson did shoot a 65 in a later group. George Coetzee put in a brilliant early performance with a three-under-par 69 that included five birdies on the back nine.
The reason for the differences comes from the weather and how little the wind has blown in the morning compared to later in the day. Mother Nature figures to play a huge role in Saturday's third round with Weather.com listing a 100 percent change for rain.
Whatever the weather has in store for the British Open, we've got a look at what to expect from moving day at Royal Liverpool.
When: Saturday, July 19
Where: Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England
Watch: ESPN (Coverage starts at 7 a.m. ET)
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com
|Group||Tee Time (ET)|
|Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson||4 a.m.|
|Kevin Streelman, Brendon Todd, Brandt Snedeker||5:17|
|Robert Karlsson, Marc Warren, Jim Furyk||5:28 a.m.|
|Jason Day, Zach Johnson, Kevin Na||5:28 a.m.|
|George Coetzee, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel||5:39 a.m.|
|Koumei Oda, Thorbjorn Olesen, Stewart Cink||5:39 a.m.|
|Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, Ryan Moore||5:50 a.m.|
|Tom Watson, Luke Donald, Matt Every||5:50 a.m.|
|Francesco Molinari, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy||6:01 a.m.|
|Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Rhein Gibson||6:01 a.m.|
Full tee time listings can be found by clicking here
The Surprise Star: George Coetzee
You could be forgiven if seeing the name George Coetzee, currently tied for ninth at five under, on the leaderboard made you do a double-take. He's a 27-year-old from South Africa who made his PGA Tour debut in 2011, has played just four events this year and has an average round score of 73.2.
Ryan Herrington of GolfDigest.com wrote an introduction about Coetzee following his second-round effort, which included a humorous anecdote about how the South African started playing golf:
He started playing golf out of spite. His father had hoped he would become a tennis player, but a rebellious streak caused him to try golf. After winning the first event he ever entered, he was hooked.
Coetzee has six professional wins on his resume, five of them coming on the Sunshine Tour. He's never finished higher than tied for 15th in a PGA Tour Grand Slam event (2011 British Open) and has never made the cut at The Masters or PGA Championship.
What makes Coetzee more than just a random name near the top of the leaderboard is the way he's managed to overcome mistakes. He hit back-to-back bogeys on 16 and 17 during the second round but finished with a birdie on 18 to take momentum into Saturday.
No one will be surprised if Coetzee drops off the leaderboard Saturday, but eventually we have to look at how a player is handling the pressure and think there's at least some legitimacy to what's happened.
The Disappointing Star: Tiger Woods
On the heels of an impressive first round that saw him shoot a three-under 69, which included five birdies on the back nine, Tiger stumbled out of the gate for the second straight day and finished with a five-over 77.
As good as his first round was on Thursday, it started with back-to-back bogeys. He managed to top that, in a bad way, on Friday with a double-bogey on the first hole and bogey on the second hole. That dropped him back to even par—and things would only get worse from there.
Tiger was able to make the cut, barely, by making a birdie on the 18th hole. That came on the heels of a triple-bogey seven on the par-four 17th hole.
Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel noted on Twitter that Tiger's problem on the first two holes may stem from lack of a proper breakfast:
Tiger Woods has played the first two holes in 5-over this week. Wheaties, man. Gotta eat the Wheaties.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) July 18, 2014
Levity aside, Tiger's overall showing has been disappointing after the impressive first round. This is just his second event following back surgery, so there is going to be some rust, but we still build up too much hope whenever he has a round under par.
Tiger fell off the pace right out of the gate on Friday and never got back on track. He's out of the running to win, but can take some solace in being able to play the weekend.
The One to Watch: Sergio Garcia
It should be said up front that this prediction has the potential to blow up in a hurry. Sergio Garcia's talent has never been in doubt, but his inability to compartmentalize, especially when things aren't going perfectly, has prevented him from becoming an elite player.
However, at 34 years old, a light seems to have turned on for Garcia, who enters the third round tied for third at six-under par. He's played 11 PGA Tour events this season, finished in the top 10 six times and has an excellent history at the British Open with seven top-10 finishes.
There are also signs that Garcia isn't going to allow one bad shot or hole bring him down. For instance, as you can see in the highlight video from the PGA Tour's official Twitter account, he got rid of two bogeys on the first and third holes in the second round with a brilliant eagle on the second hole:
Garcia has to wear the crown Phil Mickelson carried for so long, coming up short in Grand Slams, but it's important to remember that Garcia isn't much older than Lefty (33 years, 10 months) was when he won his first major in 2004.
The Spanish star has the talent to win a British Open before his career is over. He's six shots behind McIlroy, so the climb is steep, but if anyone knows how quickly the tide can turn, it's Garcia.
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