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British Open 2016: Live Leaderboard Results for Friday at Royal Troon Golf Club

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2016

Rory McIlroy and others remain in the hunt during Friday's action.
Rory McIlroy and others remain in the hunt during Friday's action.Peter Morrison/Associated Press

The 2016 British Open at Royal Troon has surprised as Friday's action unfolds.

Good and bad surprises, too. The bad is names such as Jordan Spieth struggling not only on the tricky course, but in the oft-wild winds. After Round 1, he was lucky to sit even, though plenty of time remains for him and others such as Bubba Watson (one under par after Round 1) to make a comeback.

The good surprise? Phil Mickelson and others charging ahead and putting themselves in great positioning before what is sure to be a stunning finale over the weekend.

Here's a look at the live leaderboard and the bigger names to watch Friday.

   

Golfers to Watch 

Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed looks to keep pace with the biggest names Friday.
Patrick Reed looks to keep pace with the biggest names Friday.Ben Curtis/Associated Press

According to PGA.com's Matt S. Craig, the last six Open Championships at Royal Troon have gone to American players, so it wasn't much of a shock to see Mickelson shoot up the board early flanked by Patrick Reed.

Reed put on a monster of a show Thursday, carding an eagle on the third hole and five birdies on the day. A 66 wasn't a bad way to start by any means, as ESPN's Jason Sobel put the epic performance into historical context:

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Patrick Reed ties the lowest opening-round score in Open history at Royal Troon with a 5-under 66.

This is a refreshing turn of events for Reed, who got cut at the U.S. Open and then tied for 39th and placed 52nd over his last three starts on the PGA Tour. He's still in the top 10, but he's largely struggled over the second half of the season after a strong start.

Now it's all about the Claret Jug for Reed, who can put many of his woes behind him by keeping pace with the leaders and going into the weekend in a good position.

Reed just has to make sure it isn't a trap. At the Quicken Loans National in June, for example, he shot a 68 out of the gates and then went for 70 or worse over the final three rounds to tie for 39th.

   

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy had an up-and-down round Thursday.
Rory McIlroy had an up-and-down round Thursday.Peter Morrison/Associated Press

In a way, Rory McIlroy is on the hunt to make it two in a row at the British Open.

McIlroy posted an epic 17-under in 2014 to win the British Open before not making an appearance in 2015.

His quest to return to form at the tournament got off to a ho-hum start Thursday, where he shot a 69 to sit at two-under. Much of the momentum gained via four birdies on the front nine went out the window over the second half of the course thanks to a double bogey on No. 13 and a bogey on the following hole.

The Open provided a look at the top-heavy round:

The Open @TheOpen

Watch Rory McIlroy's first round at The 145th Open in 120 seconds. #TheOpen https://t.co/HQ4ita8Ibu

McIlroy remains on the hunt for his fifth major before the age of 30. He flirted with the idea at the Masters this year before finishing tied for 10th, then missed the cut at the U.S. Open.

Last year was a top-heavy year when it came to majors. McIlroy has himself in a position to hit the weekend in stride, though, so if he plays the course and winds right, he'll be in contention for No. 5 the whole way.

   

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler looks on track for a turnaround.
Rickie Fowler looks on track for a turnaround.Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Rickie Fowler isn't far off when it comes to Americans in the conversation to steal the Claret Jug.

It's nice to see Fowler around, too, considering he's been cut at both majors so far this year and his best finish in 2015 was tied for 12th at the Masters. So much for the 2014 campaign in which he finished fifth or better at all four.

Alas, redemption awaits Fowler if he can build on his Thursday performance. There, he was quiet with three birdies to one bogey, good for a two-under slot alongside names like McIlroy. Not the biggest headline-grabbing day in the world, but not the worst, either, given the winds and difficulty of the course.

Maybe onlookers should have expected a strong day from Fowler, though, after he started July well enough with a tie for 10th at the Bridgestone Invitational. He's also striking normalcy through a rough patch by staying in a house with Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.

“We do quite a few houses during the year, so it’s nice to have a sense of normalcy in a way. We wake up, have food, not stuck in a hotel. … It’s nice to have stuff to do when you get off the golf course," Fowler said, according to Mike McAllister of PGATour.com.

So far, Fowler has found success with the formula. Friday awaits.

   

Stats and info courtesy of PGATour.com unless otherwise specified.

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