British Open 2014 Results: Biggest Winners and Losers from Day 2
The 2014 British Open is Rory McIlroy's tournament to lose—or win—now.
McIlroy backed up his first-round score of 66 with an identical score on Friday to move into a commanding lead over the rest of the field heading into the weekend. The back-to-back 66s left McIlroy at 12-under par after 36 holes, four shots clear of Dustin Johnson, the American who is his closest pursuer after shooting a 65 of his own that was low round of Day 2.
The New Zealand Herald reported that McIlroy "cast aside any talk of those second-round doldrums with a performance at Royal Liverpool that threatened to turn this into another major championship runaway. ... This is starting to look like his first two major victories, both by eight shots, at the 2011 US Open and the 2012 PGA Championship."
While the name atop the leaderboard at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, also known simply as Hoylake, remained the same, little else did. Read on to see who were the biggest winners and losers from Day 2.
Winner: Rory McIlroy
After a number of recent tournaments in which McIlroy stumbled badly in the second round after shooting a brilliant first round, the Northern Irishman avoided the second-round blues on Friday.
In fact, McIlroy was incredibly impressive in Friday's second round, erasing the miserable memories of tournaments such as the Memorial (when he shot 63 the first day and a 78 on the second day).
In matching his first-round score of 66 on Friday, McIlroy put on a clinic, making birdies look easy. He could have even rolled in a couple more. But perhaps more impressively, whenever he found trouble, he escaped with some wonderful pars.
He did prove he was human by making a bogey on his first hole Friday, his first and so far only bogey of the tournament. Through the first 36 holes, he has registered 13 birdies and only that one bogey, leading McIlroy to tell Tom Rinaldi of ESPN (via CBSSports.com) that he is confident he can make his formidable lead stand up over the next two days.
"I've been in this position before and thankfully I've been able to get the job done," he told Rinaldi.
Losers: Golfers with Late Thursday/Early Friday Tee Time Draw
The tee time “draw” probably has the most impact on the field in the British Open than any other tournament.
With constantly changing weather in the UK, one part of the field can garner a significant advantage over the other, producing instantly some winners and losers who obviously did not have complete control over their fate.
That was certainly the case to at least some extent the past two days at Hoylake, where the early Thursday/late Friday groups faced much calmer conditions than their late Thursday/early Friday counterparts. Thursday morning produced some of the most benign conditions that can be expected, but the wind picked up in the afternoon. Friday morning saw gusty winds and cooler temperatures, but the wind died down and the sun came out Friday afternoon.
Winner: George Coetzee
Hopefully, George Coetzee had his relatives take a picture of the leaderboard after he tapped in a putt on the 15th green Friday for his third consecutive birdie and, briefly, a share of the lead.
"It was quite a good feeling to look at my name and be at the top of the leaderboard," Coetzee told the Associated Press (per FOX News).
It was not a bad way to spend his 28th birthday, even though he bogeyed the next two holes to fall out of what was then a share of the lead at six under with Rory McIlroy, who had yet to tee off. Coetzee, who hails from South Africa, told the media the British Open has always been his favorite major and it always falls on his birthday.
Facing gusts of wind that were 20-30 miles per hour much of the morning, Coetzee's three-under 69 for the day was impressive and left him at five under and tied for ninth.
Attending the tournament with him were his girlfriend and his mother. Hope they brought a camera and took a quick snapshot of the leaderboard when Coetzee's name graced the top of it.
Loser: Tiger Woods
Say it ain't so, Tiger.
For those, including Tiger Woods himself, who thought professional golf's leading man was ready to contend for this major championship despite playing in only one tournament after a three-month layoff following back surgery, Friday was a stark dose of reality.
Woods needed to make his first birdie of the day on the 18th hole to avoid missing the cut. Following an encouraging 69 in the opening round, when he nonetheless missed several makeable putts, Woods shot an ugly 77 Friday, including a mystifying double-bogey, bogey start when he seemed to lose his cool after his day was barely underway.
He made 14 pars in the middle of his round but made an especially atrocious triple bogey on 17 when he hit his tee shot out of bounds and then followed with another terrible approach shot to the green. The seven on the par-four hole left him in danger of missing the cut, but he came up with a birdie on the par-five 18th to at least allow himself to play the final two rounds of the weekend.
Winner: Ryan Moore
Ryan Moore was a perfect example of a player with a favorable tee time who was able to take advantage of better course and weather conditions.
Moore and fellow American Rickie Fowler were in a group of six players who finished the day at six under for the tournament. That group also included Italy's Francesco Molinari, Spain's Sergio Garcia, 2011 U.S. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen.
After a relatively calm opening day, warm, gusting winds of around 20 miles per hour or more meant birdies were at a premium for the early starters on Day 2. Moore was in the afternoon group in which the birdies and eagles flowed as the wind lost its strength and the leaders, most of whom got the best of Thursday's weather as well, began to make hay in the sunshine.
Moore made six birdies in all, including back-to-back ones on Hole Nos. 17 and 18 to finish the day in a tie for third.
Loser: Jordan Spieth
Perhaps playing alongside Rory McIlroy just got to be too much after a while for young Jordan Spieth.
Whatever the reason, Spieth struggled to a second-round 75, barely making the cut on the number at two-over par for the tournament. At one point, he hit a ball out of a green-side bunker, only to have it hit the green, roll back toward him and curl all the way around to the back of the bunker and roll in again.
That was a microcosm of his frustrating day.
He has been disappointing in the last two majors after finishing second at the Masters. Playing in the same group with McIlroy the first two days seemed to send his frustration level that much higher.
Winner: Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson is one of the biggest hitters in professional golf.
On Friday, he showed again that driving the ball a long way is not all he can do, firing the best round of the day. Johnson finished with a seven-under 65 and sits alone in second place, four shots behind McIlroy.
He clearly has the firepower to go low, as he showed on Day 2 with a masterful display of driving and iron play, while rolling in just enough putts. Except for the leader in the clubhouse, Johnson has a two-shot cushion on the rest of the field and will be gunning for McIlory over the weekend.
Loser: Matteo Manassero
On Thursday, many of us wondered just who Matteo Manassero was as he shot an opening-round 67 that left him alone in second place behind McIlroy.
After Friday, he's already on the verge of being forgotten once again.
Manassero is still a promising young player, of course, just as is Spieth. But it was fairly predictable that he eventually would fall to the pressure of being near the top of the leaderboard at this particular British Open, and fall to it he did, struggling to a 75 that left him tied for 19th heading into Day 3.
Winners: Sergio and Ricky
Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler appeared to dress like they were teammates of some sort on Friday.
They kind of played like it too.
Fowler followed his three-under 69 Thursday with an identical score Friday. He obviously is beginning to feel more and more comfortable on professional golf's biggest stages, having finished in the top five in both the Masters and U.S. Open and now being on track to possibly do the same this week.
Garcia, meanwhile, is trying to rediscover some of the lost magic that once made him golf's golden child. He's no child any longer. Now 34 years old, he's still seeking his first major championship, and he moved into contention right away on Friday by holing a 6-iron approach shot from 162 yards on his second hole of the day.
Garcia ended up holding on for a two under second-round score of 70 that left him and Fowler tied at six under for the tournament.
Winner: Justin Rose
Justin Rose tuned up for this British Open by winning the last two tournaments he played in, including the Scottish Open.
You know who won the Scottish Open in 2013, don't you? It was Phil Mickelson, who then went on to win the British Open as well.
Rose could still repeat that rare double. He got to two under for the tournament with a solid 70 in the second round, shooting one of the better rounds in the more difficult morning conditions to play himself back into at least the edge of possible contention.
He’ll need to play well over the weekend and probably will need several golfers in front of him to stumble, but Rose has been the hottest player in the world over the last month, so he's not out of the tournament by any stretch.