Date: July 18, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes @ St Andrews

Day in mix as DJ leads


It’s hard to say where the biggest challenge lies: Dustin Johnson, a lack of sleep or horrendous Scottish weather.

Regardless, Jason Day again finds himself right in the major championship mix when just about every element bar snow conspired to curtail early the second round of The Open today.

The Queenslander will resume with a nerve-jangling par putt on the 12th hole to remain at eight under par, just two shots from the lead of American Johnson, whose power continues to keep the field at bay in extremely testing conditions.

After play was called off with 14 groups yet to complete their second round, violent winds whipped St Andrews and if they remain when play resumes at 7am locally tomorrow, the tournament could easily change face again.

Safely in the clubhouse are Englishman Danny Willett (-10) and Australian Adam Scott (-7) who surged into contention with a bogey-free 67 today.

Scott is among a host of completed rounds in at seven under, including local hope Marc Warren, Robert Streb and Zach Johnson, while 2010 champ Louis Oosthuizen is among that pack but on the 12th green alongside Day.

And a bolter in the mix is 1999 champion Paul Lawrie who’s defying the odds to be eight under on the 13th hole.

Day birdied the first hole, but immediately gave one back when he found a fairway bunker on the second and could only scramble a bogey.

From there, the 27-year-old didn’t drop another shot as he moved into major contention for an incredible eighth time since 2011.

“I feel like I got it going much better after those first few holes, it was really hard out there but we battled through,” Day said.

“It was certainly tough with the winds and the cold and it was just a really good test of golf.

“This is always going to be a trying week with the weather and the delays, like we had (at St Andrews) in 2010.

“It was just hard for me. That left to right wind is really tough for me with my driver as you really have to commit to the shot.

“If you stand up there and say I need a draw but don’t fully commit you can get it going sideways.”

Johnson looked imperious at times, but showed signs of nerves when delays and strong winds conspired to help him miss a 1m par putt on the 11th.

His playing partners — Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama – went different ways during their rounds.

The American has been unusually erratic and remains at five under, while the Japanese ace had his round – and total – to seven under through 10 holes before two late bogeys.

Some of the 42 players left to finish thought play was called off too late in fading light, but it didn’t stop the ceremonial march of retiring five-time champion Tom Watson.

In emotional scenes crossing the Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole, the American legend lapped up enormous and generous applause from the crowd that stayed on almost exclusively to see him.

For the record, Watson closed with a second-round 80 to finish at 12 over par.

But that mattered not to the thousands who stayed and cheered his incredible career in the British major that featured victories in 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983.



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