Date: July 21, 2018
Author: Martin Blake

Open: young lions make cut, Americans lead

Australia’s two young lions Lucas Herbert and Cameron Davis both made the cut and comparative veteran Adam Scott made a run, but they are all chasing Americans Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner at the Open Championship.

Herbert, 22, and Davis, 23, are having the time of their lives at Carnoustie and they still have a couple of days to soak it up.

Johnson (67 today) and first-round leader Kisner (70) are at six-under par through two rounds and holding the lead on a damper Carnoustie which still has not turned nasty with strong winds.

Kisner had the outright lead going down the 18th but pushed his second shot at the par-four 18th into the Barry Burn and made a double bogey. “It just didn’t come out the way I saw it,’’ said the American, who is majorless.

“The golf course fits my eye,’’ said Kisner. “Everyone told me before I got here I’d love it and I do love it now that I got here. I’m looking forward to keeping the ball in play, get around the green and making as many birdies as I can.’’

Johnson won the Open in 2015 at St Andrews and with his precision short iron play and his clinical approach, he acknowledges that links golf suits him. “My game, this championship suits me,’’ he said. “I play the hole backwards, I take what it gives me.’’

They are a shot ahead of Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and Americans Xander Schauffele and Pat Perez at five-under.

Among the big names hovering are Rory McIlroy at four-under after a 69 today and defending champion Jordan Spieth also at four-under after a second-round 67.

Scott is tied for 18th at one-under after a second-round 70 that included five birdies and four bogeys, and with Fanny Sunesson on his bag for the first time, the Queenslander is having a solid week.

All of the Australians need to make a move in the third round but seven of the eight made the cut, the exception being Matt Jones.

Jason Day was the one who had the most to regret. Day made a strong run on the front nine and at three-under overall through 10 holes, he was just two shots from the lead. But three bogeys on the last four holes left him off the pace in a tied for 29th at even-par.

Right alongside him is Bendigo’s Herbert, playing his first Open Championship and who rattled around in a two-under par 69 to make sure he could enjoy another weekend of major championship golf.

“It feels pretty good,’’ Herbert said. “I probably got the tougher side of the draw. It feels really good to get myself into the weekend.’’

In his second major (he played the US Open earlier this year), Herbert woke feeling uneasy. “Looking at how the conditions were this morning, I wasn’t confident at all. I was ready to put my feet up in front of the TV all day. But I battled those really well, went about it one shot at a time, put myself into a position to grind it out the last four holes because it’s not an easy finish.’’

A shot farther back at one-over is Davis, the Emirates Australian Open champion from Sydney, who was having a great day until he doubled the par-four 10th hole.

“I played pretty well for the most part for the first two rounds,’’ he said afterward. “I made couple of mistakes that cost me a couple of doubles. I’m trying to stay positive.’’

Davis said the experience had matched his expectations. “It’s been pretty awesome,’’ he said. “I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s great to be playing pretty well as well, but just to be here at this golf course, the way it’s set up, the condition of the course being so crazy, firm and fast, it’s an awesome experience to this point.’’

Marc Leishman, Brett Rumford and Cameron Davis are all tied-52nd at two-over par.

Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods is tied-29th at even par, six shots back from the lead.




T1. Zach Johnson -6

T1. Kevin Kisner -6

T3. Tommy Fleetwood -5

T3. Pat Perez -5

T3. Xander Schauffele -5

T6. Rory McIlroy -4

T6. Erik van Rooyen -4

T6. Matt Kuchar -4

T6. Tony Finau -4

T6. Zander Lombard -4

T11. Kevin Chappell -3

T11. Jordan Spieth -3

T11. Rickie Fowler -3