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British Open 2011: Top 10 Contenders Heading into the Weekend

Immer ChriswellCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2011

British Open 2011: Top 10 Contenders Heading into the Weekend

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    After two rounds at Royal St. George's, there are some leaderboard shockers. The question is who will stay and who can fight the weather and win?

    If you were to picture a leaderboard, it certainly wouldn't be one with the names currently on the front page. And if you were to project the cut players, you'd be even more surprised.

    Here's a look at who to keep an eye on this weekend.

Rory McIlroy

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    Young Rory has made waves by winning his first major, and he sits in striking position at even par on the day. Anyone can make up their strokes, and he can certainly manage four strokes in two days.

    The biggest challenge will be staying around par.

Charl Schwartzel

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    Charl Schwartzel sits in a dangerous position, only two strokes back of the lead.

    Why is this so dangerous? We saw what happens when he gets hot at Augusta. If he were to match half of that, he would be holding the Claret Jug on Sunday night.

Martin Kaymer

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    This is the man everyone has as their winner. He's deathly close to the lead, and the weather is right up his game's alley.

    Kaymer is definitely a mudder, and all he needs is even par on the day and he's the leader.

    If the bookies of England believe in him, there's got to be hope.

Miguel Angel Jimenez

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    We were captured by his stretching, but let's not forget about his golfing. Jimenez is a great grinding player, and his experience in the majors is invaluable.

    Look out for the mechanic for the weekend, and try stretching like him.

Thomas Bjorn

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    Thomas Bjorn is a man playing with a heavy heart. He was visibly emotional when asked about his late father, and he would certainly love a Claret Jug to hoist in memory of him.

    Bjorn has to play with a "nothing to lose attitude" because he really does have nothing to lose. He's playing only because Vijay Singh withdrew, so there's less pressure on him.

Dustin Johnson

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    This man has the chance to overpower the winds tomorrow. In all likelihood, it won't happen, but there's a chance.

    Johnson has proven that he has what it takes to flight his ball and make birdies. Let's see how a little rain and wind will do on him.

Jeff Overton

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    Jeff Overton is a great American hope this weekend.

    He performed well at the Ryder Cup last year, showing his game had what it takes to succeed in Europe. All it takes is one good day and Overton could shoot up the leaderboard.

    Actually, all it takes is a bunch of bad days from the guys in from of him, too, but let's not hope for that.

Robert Rock

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    This man will be on watch to see if his hair gets out of place during Saturday's round.

    Rock is a steady European player, and there's no reason to keep him off the TV screen, because his game suits a solid round for the next two days.

Pablo Larrazabal

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    After finding victory at the hands of Sergio Garcia this year, Larrazabal now knows he can never give up, because the leader can always come back to you.

    And Larrazabal has the confidence that he can win regardless of the circumstances.

    A somewhat steady player, Larrazabal has a great chance to come in with the Claret Jug if he can post one-under or two-under tomorrow.

Rickie Fowler

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    Fowler has performed well so far, and although he hasn't played well enough in the final two rounds of a major yet, maybe the law of averages will catch up to him this weekend.

    Fowler's play in the Walker Cup over Rory McIlroy showed great prowess, and it would be great to see his potential come to fruition a little early.

Who's in Danger of Falling out of Relevance

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    So after looking through the list and looking at the leaderboard, you probably noticed a few discrepancies. 

    I have neither Darren Clarke nor Lucas Glover contending this weekend. The best chance those two have is that the weather calms down for them in the afternoon, and tears everyone else apart. Otherwise, these two just don't have what it takes for this weekend.

    It's hard to see Glover holding on with only relative consistency this season. And Clarke has no majors, and this is the only major he has ever finished in the top five before.

    Chad Campbell has tasted enough defeat at the hands of Tiger Woods, and it's not about to change with the weekend. He's been pretty irrelevant all season, and with the bright light of a T3 position on him, it's not going to make it any easier.

    Davis Love III and Tom Lehman both have the same issue: they show up for two rounds, and then proceed to fall into a top 20 finish. Respectable, but certainly not contending.

    And lastly Phil Mickelson. Although Lefty is capable of winning this weekend, he hasn't performed all that well in majors this year, and it's not like he has shown any dazzling change.

    It looks like he will be waiting until the the PGA to regain a major.

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