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And just like that we’re already at the half-way stage of the 2023 Open Championship. The first two days of action at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake have flown by and we’ve seen some superb links action, that’s for sure.
What is the cut at the Open Championship?
As everyone in the field has now completed their second round, the cut line is known. This year, anybody who currently holds an overall tournament score of four over par or worse after two rounds will not be heading home early. In other words, all players who sit at three over or better will return to play another two rounds on Saturday and Sunday.
Johnson and Thomas lead some big names heading home
With an Open Championship presenting even the best of the best with one of the toughest challenges in golf, there’s always some big names that come up short. This year, the beast of links golf claimed two rather hefty casualties in the form of Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, both of whom have previously won major championships. DJ wasn’t really firing on the first day, finishing with a 74, but things went from bad to worse for the big hitting LIV Golf player, who bombed out on Friday with a rather awful round of 81. It was a similar story for Thomas, who couldn’t find his feet at all on Thursday. He waved goodbye to his chances very early on, carding a first-day 82, before improving somewhat to shoot 71 on the second day, but it was all too little, too late for the two-time major winner.
Joining DJ and JT on the way home early will be Brandon Grace, who has previously contested at majors, but not this time. Shane Lowry, who won this tournament back in 2019, is another early leaver. The Irishman performed steadily on day one, but it all got too tough for him on Friday, as his hopes of another challenge were put to bed by a score of 77. Other notable players to be cut are Russell Henley, Talor Gooch, Si-woo Kim, Keegan Bradley, Collin Morikawa, who landed this prize in 2021, and Sam Burns.
World number one Scottie Scheffler, who seemingly always plays well, endured a tough second round and just made it through, though as he currently sits at three over par, he has plenty of work to do.
Harman making it hard for everyone
Tommy Fleetwood enjoyed himself on day one and looked set to throw down a bold challenge as he bids to win his first major title. However, on day two, the English man was well and truly overtaken by diminutive American Brian Harman, who played something of a perfect round to put himself firmly at the top of the leader board. Thanks to a bogey-free round of 65 (six under par), the little lefty sits at -10 for the tournament and currently has a five-shot lead over his nearest pursuer, who happens to be Tommy Fleetwood. The Englishman, who is playing at what in relation to most of the field is a home course, wasn’t as hot on the second day, carding a steady but ultimately underwhelming level-par 71.
Behind Fleetwood, we have Seb Straka at -4. The Austrian was one of few players to make up significant ground on those at the top of the leader board on day two, superbly and aggressively playing his way to four-under 67. Australian Jason Day carded a very strong 67 too, putting himself level with countryman Min-woo Lee on -3.
There are of course a few in with chances and there’s a whole lot of golf still to be played, but world number 26 Harman has built himself a commanding lead and may not be for catching, especially if he turns in another round like Friday’s.
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