British Open 2021: Oosthuizen Shoots 2nd-Round 65, Leads Morikawa and Spieth

Adam WellsJuly 16, 2021

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen acknowledges the crowd after putting an eagle on the 14th green during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at Royal St George's golf course Sandwich, England, Friday, July 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
AP Photo/Peter Morrison

Louis Oosthuizen continues to be the most impressive player at the 2021 Open Championship, though he has a lot of challengers on his heels heading into the weekend. 

The South African maintained sole possession of the lead after Friday's second round with a 65. His 36-hole score is 11 under par overall is the lowest two-round total since 2014 (Rory McIlroy, 12 under). 

Collin Morikawa's 64 was tied for the lowest score of the day. He's now in second place at nine under par, followed by Jordan Spieth (eight under) and a trio tied for fourth place at seven under. 

The cut line of one-over par means several marquee players, including Francesco Molinari and Tyrell Hatton, both of whom were two over, are headed home early. Phil Mickelson, who was tied for last place after opening with an 80 on Thursday, finished his brief run at Royal St. George's Golf Club in 152nd place at 12 over.

2021 Open Championship Leaderboard - Second Round

1. Louis Oosthuizen (-11)

2. Collin Morikawa (-9)

3. Jordan Spieth (-8)

T4. Dustin Johnson (-7)

T4. Dylan Frittelli (-7)

T4. Scottie Scheffler (-7)

T7. Daniel van Tonder (-6)

T7. Emiliano Grillo (-6)

T7. Marcel Siem (-6)

T7. Andy Sullivan (-6)

T7. Justin Harding (-6)

Full leaderboard via TheOpen.com

Since this year's Open Championship is only a par-70, compared to 2014 when McIlroy was 12 under through two rounds on a par-72, Oosthuizen's 36-hole total is the lowest in the 149-year history of this event. 

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Louis Oosthuizen has set the record for lowest 36-hole score in The Open Championship history with a 129. <a href="https://t.co/2FHdchMJbs">pic.twitter.com/2FHdchMJbs</a>

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Louis Oosthuizen leads <a href="https://twitter.com/TheOpen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheOpen</a> after 18 holes.<br><br>It's the 8th straight major round that he's finished inside the top 3, the 3rd-longest streak since all 4 majors became stroke play events.<br><br>Only Tiger Woods (12 straight in 2000) and Jack Nicklaus (10 in 1972) have longer streaks. <a href="https://t.co/i5bnW3Zdtr">pic.twitter.com/i5bnW3Zdtr</a>

One reason Oosthuizen has been so successful is his ability to avoid mistakes. The 38-year-old has just one bogey thus far. He also had four birdies and his first eagle of the tournament in the second round. 

The Open @TheOpen

Catch him if you can⚡️<a href="https://twitter.com/Louis57TM?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Louis57TM</a>, who once won The Open by seven shots, is now three clear🤯<br><br>Watch his final four holes here👉 <a href="https://t.co/nF1CsC3YNF">https://t.co/nF1CsC3YNF</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/jClxwh0cZT">pic.twitter.com/jClxwh0cZT</a>

Oosthuizen has also been brilliant off the tee, hitting 13 out of 14 fairways on Friday. His greens in regulation percentage was 83.3 and averaged 1.61 putts per green in regulation. 

Despite being close to winning the past two major tournaments, Oosthuizen has had some issues in the final two rounds that have cost him. He was one under par over the final 36 holes at the U.S. Open after finishing four under in the first two rounds. 

After opening the PGA Championship at five under, Oosthuizen shot 72-73 over the final two rounds to finish two shots behind Mickelson. 

Morikawa was one of the day's big winners. His score of six under par on Friday tied Jon Rahm and Emiliano Grillo for the best in the field. It also marked his fifth consecutive round under par at a major dating back to the U.S. Open. 

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Collin Morikawa's 3 career major rounds shooting 65 or better are tied with Rory McIlroy for the 3rd-most in major championship history by any golfer before his 25th birthday. The only golfers with more are Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods.<br>h/t <a href="https://twitter.com/EliasSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EliasSports</a> <a href="https://t.co/JQJJb8LQlq">pic.twitter.com/JQJJb8LQlq</a>

Morikawa put up seven birdies and a bogey on No. 15, which proved to be the most difficult hole of the day. The average score on the par four was 4.36. 

This marks the Los Angeles native's first appearance in The Open Championship. The last player to win this tournament in their first attempt was Ben Curtis in 2003. 

Spieth has continued his recent string of excellent golf. Since posting a 77 in the first round of the U.S. Open, the Texas native has played his last 90 holes at 15 under par. He briefly moved into a tie for the lead at The Open Championship with his birdie on No. 12. 

PGA TOUR Communications @PGATOURComms

Jordan Spieth’s 36-hole score of 132 (65-67) is the second-lowest of his major championship career (130, 2015 Masters Tournament).<br><br>Spieth began with a score of 135 or better through two rounds in all three major titles.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheOpen</a>

The Open @TheOpen

Closing in👀<a href="https://twitter.com/JordanSpieth?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JordanSpieth</a> moves within one of the lead with a trademark putt as he starts the back nine👌<br><br>Watch every shot from Jordan here 👉 <a href="https://t.co/nF1CsC3YNF">https://t.co/nF1CsC3YNF</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/wTbk0B7fzA">pic.twitter.com/wTbk0B7fzA</a>

Not far behind Spieth is Dustin Johnson, who is part of the three-way tie for fourth place at seven under par. His 65 on Friday marked his best single-round score at The Open Championship since the third round of the 2017 event. 

The Open @TheOpen

The world number 1️⃣is on the move!<a href="https://twitter.com/DJohnsonPGA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DJohnsonPGA</a> has holed birdies on 7 and 8 to move to -4. <br><br>Follow his round here 👉<a href="https://t.co/xYY44zAFs3">https://t.co/xYY44zAFs3</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/yCNScTYHRM">pic.twitter.com/yCNScTYHRM</a>

The Open Championship hasn't historically been one of Johnson's better events. He only has one top-10 finish since 2013 (tied for ninth in 2016). 

Among the notable players who will be around for the weekend, but not likely to contend include Rory McIlroy (even) and Xander Schauffele (even). Brooks Koepka (five under) and Sergio Garcia (three under) still have an outside shot at making a move if they can catch a break in the next two days. 

The third round will tee off at 4:20 a.m. ET. Morikawa and Oosthuizen will begin their rounds at 10:55 a.m. ET.