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Round 2 review: The Open Championship

11 Min Read


Round 2 review: The Open Championship

A look at the biggest stories from Friday’s second round at The Open Championship

    Written by Staff @PGATOUR


    Brian Harman had never held the 36-hole lead in a major alone. He did more than enough on Friday morning at the 151st Open Championship to guarantee that changed.

    The 36-year-old tied the course record at Royal Liverpool Golf Club with a second-round 65 to jump to 10 under and a sizable lead. He poured in an eagle on the par-5 18th to cap off the bogey-free day. He holds a five-shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood.

    Brian Harman leads by five at The Open

    Harman birdied four of his first five holes before rattling off an impressive stretch of 12 pars, including a chip-in and several nifty up-and-downs. Then on the 18th hole, Harman’s approach from 241 yards nestled up within 15 feet of the hole, and he rolled in the putt to cap off a career round.

    Harman is the ninth player in the past 40 years to lead by at least five at the halfway point of a major. The previous eight all went on to win.

    Brian Harman2023 Open Championship5TBD
    Scottie Scheffler2022 Masters Tournament5Win
    Brooks Koepka2019 PGA Championship7Win
    Jordan Spieth2015 Masters Tournament5Win
    Martin Kaymer2014 U.S. Open6Win
    Rory McIlroy 2011 U.S. Open6Win
    Louis Oosthuizen2010 Open Championship5Win
    Tiger Woods2000 U.S. Open6Win
    Nick Price 1994 PGA Championship5Win

    It’s the putter that has powered the lefty thus far. Harman has gained more than eight strokes on the green. He made more than 264 feet of putts through two days, including 124 feet in his second round. His first three birdies of the day came from putts of 20, 25 and 17 feet.

    He hasn’t missed a putt inside 10 feet this week, either. That became critical during the middle of the round as his ball-striking wavered. He converted par putts of 7, 9 and 7 feet coming down the stretch. On the 12th hole, after his tee shot found the bunker and forced a pitch out and his approach found the rough, Harman chipped in.

    “I've had a hot putter the last couple days so try to ride it through the weekend,” Harman said, “36 holes to go.”

    Brian Harman interview after Round 2 of The Open

    Sometimes it’s just your day – it certainly was for Harman. The TOUR veteran held a share of the 36-hole lead at the 2017 U.S. Open but had never sat atop the leaderboard alone heading into the weekend of a major. He hopes this go-round ends better. He finished four shots behind Brooks Koepka at Erin Hills.

    “I just probably thought about it too much,” Harman said of that week. “Just didn't focus on getting sleep and eating right. So that would be my focus this weekend.”


    Rory hanging around: Given the stern test at Hoylake and the tough conditions from the late-early draw, Rory McIlroy is largely happy with how he’s played. The only issue? He finds himself nine shots back of Harman.

    “Ten-under par is unbelievably impressive out there. We'll see what the weekend holds,” McIlroy said. “...I might be nine back, but I don't think there's going to be a ton of players between me and the lead going into the weekend.”

    It’s a luxury some of the best players in the world, like McIlroy, have. Nine shots back doesn’t feel insurmountable, especially when you consistently find yourself drifting up the leaderboard as less-proven players fumble around you. McIlroy is quick to say he hasn’t played his best golf. He’s missed a few short putts and had a few leaky tee shots, but he remains confident that he’s not out of the tournament at 1 under.

    “I think if I can get to 3-, 4-, 5-under par tomorrow going into Sunday, I'll have a really good chance,” he said.

    That optimism was made possible by a birdie at the par-5 18th, bringing him back into red figures. After making two birdies in his first five holes, McIlroy stumbled with a pair of bogeys on two easier par 4s, Nos. 11 and 15. That birdie on 18, just like his par save on Thursday at the same hole, gave him enough optimism about what the weekend could hold.

    “I don't think I have to do anything differently,” he said.

    Rory McIlroy interview after Round 2 of The Open

    Tommy Fleetwood threatening again: Fleetwood is no stranger to chasing on the weekend of a major. The Brit has twice shot 63 to make Sunday charges in the U.S. Open, and he’s back in a chasing position once more.

    This time, though, he’ll do it from the final group at Royal Liverpool. He finds himself uniquely positioned to be the closest pursuer, although he’s still five shots back of Harman.

    “I've put in chases before in the past, and look, at the end of the day if somebody said you're going out in the last group on Saturday, I don't care what the situation was or what anybody had shot, I'd have probably taken it,” Fleetwood said.

    With conditions expected to ramp up over the next two days, the 32-year-old’s chase will likely look much different than the aggressive nature of his previous runs. Survival will be the name of the game – and Fleetwood feels well equipped to do so.

    In many ways, that was what defined his round Friday. It was not smooth sailing like his opening round of 66. Fleetwood made three birdies and three bogeys and was forced to play out of the pot bunkers after avoiding them entirely during the first round. He made a 5-footer for par on the last hole to secure his spot in the final group.

    “Today was the finish where I felt like I had to do that,” he said, “and that's just as satisfying as playing great.”

    Tommy Fleetwood interview after Round 2 of The Open

    He will undoubtedly have a crowd advantage over Harman on Saturday. Fleetwood grew up less than 30 miles away from Hoylake in the town of Southport. A massive gallery followed him throughout his second round, with “Tommy” chants seemingly sprouting on every hole, willing him to grind out his round of even-par 71.

    Tommy Fleetwood drains 58-foot birdie putt at The Open

    “Loved every minute of playing in front of them, and I can't thank everybody enough,” Fleetwood said.

    The ultimate thanks would be to win for the hometown faithful. He’s still working on that one.

    Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa among big names to miss the cut: A second-round 71 could do little to ease Justin Thomas’ anguish. He could have matched Harman’s course record of 65 and likely still missed the cut. That’s the reality for the reeling Thomas, who gutted out an even-par round after shooting 82 on Thursday and will head back to the States early, still searching for answers.

    “Making two doubles and a quad, that's 8-year-old, 9-year-old kind of stuff, not someone who's trying to win a British Open,” Thomas said, referencing that nightmarish first round that left him 11 over. “You just can't do stuff like that.”

    Those scores were out there through two rounds at The Open Championship. With the cutline at 4 over, Thomas ran into a few too many that derailed his hopes of finding major form.

    He wasn’t the only one to sputter at Royal Liverpool, though. Collin Morikawa missed the cut by a shot, his four bogeys on Friday proving pivotal. He has missed the cut in both appearances at the Open since he won in 2019. Tony Finau carded a 75 on Friday and, at 6 over, will miss the cut for the first time in seven appearances at The Open Championship. So too will Keegan Bradley (4 over), Sahith Theegala (5 over), Billy Horschel (6 over), Justin Rose (6 over), Sam Burns (6 over), Shane Lowry (7 over), Phil Mickelson (9 over) and Dustin Johnson (13 over).

    R&A adjusts the bunkers: The 82 bunkers that line the grounds of Royal Liverpool proved particularly penal during the first round of The Open Championship, so much so the R&A made changes to the course’s signature feature ahead of the second round.

    Due to unforeseen drier conditions on Thursday, officials saw that the bunkers had dried out more than anticipated. As a result, many golf balls found their way to the face of the pot bunkers, giving players few options except for going sideways or backward. To remedy that, the grounds crew raked all of the bunkers slightly differently to take the sand up one revet on the face of the bunkers to encourage balls to end up slightly farther from the face.

    “We routinely rake bunkers flat at most Open venues but decided this adjustment was appropriate in light of the drier conditions which arose yesterday,” The R&A said in a statement.

    The R&A noted that they “will continue to monitor this closely for the remainder of the championship,” giving the option to revert back to how the bunkers were starting the week.


    Sepp Straka (4 under): Fresh off his win at the John Deere Classic, the Austrian is again in contention. Straka tallied six birdies on his back nine to shoot 67. He has the opportunity to eclipse his best major finish, which came earlier this season with a T7 at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club.

    Min Woo Lee (3 under): Back-to-back bogeys on the third and fourth holes had the Australian stumbling, but an eagle at the par-5 fifth was the stabilizing force. Lee played the final 13 holes in 3-under to post a 68 and vault himself into contention.

    Jason Day (3 under): The Australian picked up his first win in five years earlier this season at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Could his first major victory since the 2015 PGA Championship be next? Day’s second-round 67 has him in the mix. He birdied 15 and 17 to make a late jump up the leaderboard. At T4, it's Day’s best 36-hole start at a major since the 2020 PGA Championship.

    Jordan Spieth (2 under): Three early birdies had the three-time major champion into a tie for second, but a trio of back-nine bogeys resulted in an even-par round of 71. Spieth has four top 10s in his last five appearances at the Open Championship and is in position for another at Royal Liverpool.

    Cam Young (2 under): The reigning Rookie of Year is back in good form after an inconsistent stretch this summer. Building on his runner-up finish at last year’s Open, Young carded a second-round 68 to sneak into the top-10. He finished T6 in his last start at the John Deere Classic.

    Max Homa (1 under): He got as low as 4 under, but a back-nine 39 dropped Homa from the first page of the leaderboard. Still, he is in a solid position to nab his first top 10 in a major and could flirt with contention if he goes low on Saturday.

    Matthew Jordan (1 under): A double-bogey on the par-3 17th deflated what was another impressive round for the DP World Tour golfer and Royal Liverpool member. Jordan will play the weekend at his home course and takes plenty of course knowledge into what is sure to be a nerve-wracking final two rounds. “I can't not be proud of myself and the way I performed,” he said after the second-round 72. “Just want to keep that going.”

    Tom Kim (even par): One of the low rounds of the morning wave helped Kim recover from a first-round 74 – and he did it with a tear in his ankle. Kim revealed after this 3-under round of 68 that he got his foot caught while walking outside his rental property. “There is like this patio and it drops down to the grass. There is like half a yard of mud and my foot got caught and slipped and popped,” he said. Despite “barely walking,” Kim gutted through his round to make four birdies and bogey and safely secure a tee time for the weekend. “I taped it up a lot where it's not going to get worse. It's just uncomfortable. I'm not going to give up. It's just not who I am,” he said.

    Jon Rahm (2 over): The Spaniard will make his 17th consecutive cut in a major championship, but he was looking for more out of his second-round 70. Rahm three-putted from 32 feet to bogey the par-5 18th. He’s missed four putts inside 4 feet this week. “Those are four shots that you can't give up in major championships,” he said, “2-over or 2-under makes a massive difference right now in the score.”

    Tyrrell Hatton (2 over): Hatton stood on the 18th tee 2 under before he pumped back-to-back tee shots into the internal out-of-bounds down the right side of the fairway, leading to a quadruple bogey. From inside the top 10 to just inside the cut line, Hatton will play the weekend, but the final hole of the second round likely cost him a chance at contending.

    Scottie Scheffler (3 over): The No. 1 player in the world needed an up-and-down birdie from a pot bunker on par-5 18th to avoid his first missed cut since last August. Scheffler’s attempt ricocheted off the bunker face, popped straight into the air and rolled within one foot of the hole for the tap-in he needed. After shooting 75, Scheffler will need to clean up some uncharacteristically inconsistent ball-striking if he wants to be a factor this weekend.

    Scottie Scheffler catches a lucky break at The Open

    Christo Lamprecht (3 over): The lanky amateur from Georgia Tech shot 79 on Friday -- 13 shots higher than the incredible opening round that gave him a share of the lead -- but as the only amateur to make the cut he is guaranteed to earn low amateur honors. The world's third-ranked amateur won The Amateur Championship last month and was a first-team All-American at Georgia Tech.

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