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British Open Tee Times 2016: Pairings and Predictions for Friday Schedule

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 14, 2016

Jul 14, 2016; Ayrshire,  SCT; Phil Mickelson (USA) walks off the 18th green after finishing his first round round of the 145th Open Championship golf tournament at Royal Troon Golf Club - Old Course. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

While the rest of the world was focused on players like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson stepped up in the first round of the 2016 British Open to remind everyone he's still capable of doing great things. 

Now the pressure shifts to Mickelson as he carries a three-shot lead over Patrick Reed and Martin Kaymer heading into Friday's second round. His only previous victory in this tournament came in 2013. McIlroy was the last wire-to-wire winner in 2014, so Lefty has a lot of work remaining. 

Here's how the leaderboard looks heading into the second day of action at Royal Troon:

  

Friday Pairings

2016 British Open Groupings and Start Times
Time (ET)Golfer 1Golfer 2Golfer 3
1:35 a.m.Greg ChalmersKristoffer BrobergClement Sordet
1:46 a.m.David HowellSeung Yul NohTony Finau
1:57 a.m.Jordan NiebruggeNick CullenRobert Streb
2:08 a.m.Ben Curtis Stefano Mazzoli John Daly
2:19 a.m.Francesco Molinari Kevin KisnerKT Kim
2:30 a.m.Todd HamiltonJustin LeonardMark Calcavecchia
2:41 a.m.Soren KjeldsenLasse JensenBill Haas
2:52 a.m.Paul CaseyCharl Schwartzel Kevin Na
3:03 a.m.Emiliano GrilloJoost LuitenCharley Hoffman
3:14 a.m.Graeme McDowellMatt KucharAndrew Johnston
3:25 a.m.Phil MickelsonLee WestwoodErnie Els
3:36 a.m.Satoshi KodairaJames HahnAndy Sullivan
3:47 a.m.Ryan MooreBernd WiesbergerTommy Fleetwood
4:03 a.m.Dustin JohnsonMartin KaymerRussell Knox
4:14 a.m.Zach JohnsonAdam ScottHenrik Stenson
4:25 a.m.Chris Wood Yusaku MiyazatoMark O’Meara
4:36 a.m.Miguel Angel JimenezJason DufnerMarc Warren
4:47 a.m.Anirban LahiriSergio GarciaKeegan Bradley
4:58 a.m.Webb SimpsonYuta IkedaThomas Pieters
5:09 a.m.Rafa Cabrera-BelloJB HolmesBrandon Stone
5:20 a.m.Marco DawsonMatthew SouthgateYosuke Tsukada
5:31 a.m.Jack SeniorJames HeathBrian Gay
5:42 a.m.Jim HermanFabian GomezAnthony Wall
5:53 a.m.Paul HowardDaniel SummerhaysColt Knost
6:04 a.m.Oskar ArvidssonHarold Varner III Tyrell Hatton
6:15 a.m.Ryan EvansCallum ShinkwinZander Lombard
6:36 a.m.Colin MontgomerieMarc LeishmanLuke Donald
6:47 a.m.Steven AlkerMarcus Fraser Sanghee Lee
6:58 a.m.Jeunghun WangJon RahmRyan Palmer
7:09 a.m.Sandy Lyle Scott GregoryDavid Duval
7:20 a.m.Richie Ramsay Danny LeeHarris English
7:31 a.m.Alex NorenSteven Bowditch Kevin Chappell
7:42 a.m.Darren ClarkeThorbjorn OlesenJim Furyk
7:53 a.m.Justin ThomasDavid LingmerthKiradech Aphibarnrat
8:04 a.m.Branden Grace Patrick ReedByeong Hun An
8:15 a.m.Paul LawrieBrandt Snedeker Thongchai Jaidee
8:26 a.m.Padraig HarringtonLouis OosthuizenJamie Donaldson
8:37 a.m.Scott PiercyPaul DunneJamie Lovemark
8:48 a.m.Victor DubuissonJimmy WalkerScott Hend
9:04 a.m.Jordan Spieth Justin RoseShane Lowry
9:15 a.m.Ross FisherSteve Stricker Vijay Singh
9:26 a.m.Danny WillettRickie FowlerJason Day
9:37 a.m.Rory McIlroyHideki MatsuyamaBubba Watson
9:48 a.m.Gary WoodlandJames MorrisonSoomin Lee
9:59 a.m.Smylie Kaufman Chris KirkGeorge Coetzee
10:10 a.m.Billy HorschelMatthew FitzpatrickHideto Tanihara
10:21 a.m.Matteo ManasseroShugo ImahiraRussell Henley
10:32 a.m.Kodai IchiharaRobert RockWilliam McGirt
10:43 a.m.Brendan SteeleRichard SterneMatt Jones
10:54 a.m.Patton KizzireNicolas ColsaertsRod Pampling
11:05 a.m.Dave Coupland Nathan HolmanPhachara Khongwatmai
11:16 a.m.Scott FernandezRikard Karlberg Haydn Porteous
Source: TheOpen.com
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Friday Predictions

Mickelson has largely remained off the radar this year, with just five top-10 finishes in 16 tournaments, so naturally he would start the British Open by coming within an eyelash of setting a new major scoring record:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

You can't get any closer to 62. 💔 https://t.co/eS7qnQ4LYY

To illustrate how surprising Mickelson's performance on Thursday was, he hasn't had a score better than 65 in any round this year and didn't have a round under par at the Masters or U.S. Open. 

After his round, via ESPN's Bob Harig, Mickelson even put it up there with the best rounds he has ever played: 

It was one of the best rounds that I've played. I mean, nothing will match that final round at Muirfield, but it was one of the best rounds I've ever played and I was able to take advantage of these conditions, and yet I want to shed a tear right now. That putt on 18 was an opportunity to do something historical. I knew it, and with a foot to go I thought I had done it. I saw that ball rolling right in the center. I went to go get it, I had that surge of adrenaline that I had just shot 62, and then I had the heartbreak that I didn't and watched that ball lip out. It was, wow, that stings.

The feel-good story of this tournament would be Mickelson winning, especially after missing the cut at this year's first two majors. 

Unfortunately, nothing about Mickelson's performance this year indicates he will be able to keep playing at a pace even close to this. He has built a small cushion to work around some mistakes, and the top golfers this year were a mixed bag on Thursday. 

Jason Day was the biggest disappointment, finishing two-over par and tied for 95th place. He's endured heartbreak at this tournament in the past, missing a birdie putt on the 18th hole last year to get in the playoff that Zach Johnson eventually won. 

Justin Ray of the Golf Channel was largely able to shoot down any hopes for Day making a comeback over the final 54 holes:

Justin Ray @JustinRayGC

Jason Day: 73 in 1st round. Only 1 of the last 31 major champions had a 1st round score of 73 or higher.

Rickie Fowler and McIlroy are solidly in the mix after shooting identical 69s. McIlroy is going to be kicking himself for shooting a double-bogey and bogey on consecutive holes to give away three shots after he grabbed a share of the lead. 

In spite of the bad taste in McIlroy's mouth on those two holes, he is still a player to watch on Friday. Thursday marked his first round under 70 in a major tournament this year. 

Yet the player to watch on Friday is last year's champion. Johnson has largely been an afterthought heading into this year's tournament, not even registering a comment from three CBS Sports analysts when they were making their predictions.

None of that mattered to Johnson on Thursday, as he opened the British Open with a strong four-under par 67 that would have been a lot better if he didn't finish with back-to-back bogeys. 

Despite that bad ending, PGA Tour Media noted that Johnson's score puts him in the same category as Tiger Woods in one respect:

PGA TOUR Communications @PGATOURComms

Zach Johnson opened with a 67, the lowest opening score by a defending champion @TheOpen since Tiger Woods shot the same score in 2006.

Woods won that 2006 event by vaulting into the lead in the second round. Johnson probably won't fire a 65 like Woods did a decade ago, but he definitely deserves to be a bigger part of the conversation. 

Johnson came into the British Open off consecutive top-10 finishes at the U.S. Open and Bridgestone Invitational. He's caught fire after a spring lull that included a missed cut at the Masters. 

This is going to be Johnson's tournament until someone takes it away from him. Friday will be his day to reclaim the spotlight, with McIlroy also putting himself in contention heading into the weekend. 

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