July 21, 2023 | 16:16
HOYLAKE, England — The idiosyncrasies and bad bounces of links golf and pressure are a deadly combination.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry showed during the second round of the British Open on Friday in Royal Liverpool what can happen when frustration sets in.
After he hit a poor approach shot on the 16th hole, Lowry wrapped the iron around his neck in anger and snapped it in half.
The 2019 British Open champion was already on course to miss the cut at 3-over after double bogeying the par-4 14th hole and failing to birdie the 15th.
He shot 77 on Friday to miss the cut by four shots at 7-over for the week.
For those who would rather not see Brian Harman win the British Open, the best hope at this point is England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who stayed within striking distance of the lead on Friday.
Harman shot 65 to take a five-shot lead over Fleetwood, the 18-hole co-leader.
Fleetwood was unable to bite into the lead, but he also failed to lose any more ground, shooting an even-par 71 to be at 5-under to Harman’s 10-under.
“Brian had two great days,” Fleetwood said. “I watched his round this morning and he played great. He’s way ahead. Obviously there’s a long way to go. We don’t know what the conditions are going to bring and you just have to keep playing until it’s over and see where you finish.
“I’ve been in chases 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 somebody had shot, I probably would have taken it.”
Rory McIlroy, who entered as the tournament favorite but is 1 under par and nine shots off the lead, said he was “actually quite happy with my two days’ work.”
“I don’t think I have to do anything different,” McIlroy said of the weekend. “I hit the ball well from the tee to the green. I’ve missed a few chances on the greens. I might be nine back, but I don’t think there will be a ton of players between me and the lead this weekend. It depends on how the conditions are tomorrow. Of course, it also depends on what Brian does.
“Right now it’s not completely out of my hands, but at the same time I think if I can get to 3-, 4-, 5-under par tomorrow on Sunday, I’ll have a really good chance.”
There was a mad scramble by some of the world’s best players late in the second round to make the cut.
With the cutline at 3-over, defending champion Cam Smith, at 4-over, birdied his third shot on the par-5 18th hole to within two feet to get to 2-under and survive for the weekend for eagle.
Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 ranked player in the world, also came to the 18th hole at 4-over needing birdie to make the cut.
He clipped a bunker lip with a sand shot and his third teed to three feet of the hole from where he made his birdie.
After his lucky break out of the bunker, Scheffler raised his arms to the sky with a relieved expression on his face.
A short time later, Rickie Fowler got to 18 at 3-over and needed a par to play the weekend.
He saved par out of a greenside pot bunker to make the cut.
Aussie Travis Smyth finished 8-over and missed the cut, but he left with a lifelong memory: a hole-in-one on the difficult par-3 17th hole.
A day after double-bogeying 5 on the hole, he made the first ever ace on the new hole.
“It was amazing,” Smyth said. “A little bittersweet actually. I had a shocker the day before, made double bogey and I was just really happy that I hit a good shot because I was just so disappointed with the day before. It was a huge surprise that it went in the hole. It was just the perfect distance, perfect wind and the club. Everything just kind of came together and it was a moment I will never forget. I kept the ball. A few kids asked for it, but I felt bad that I had to keep it.
Cameron Young of Westchester County, the pride of Sleepy Hollow Country Club who finished second in the 2022 British Open, climbed the leaderboard on Friday and got to 3-under before bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15 slowed his roll.
He finished 2-under after birdying 18 and is eight shots off the lead.
Among the notable players who missed the cut was Dustin Johnson, who shot 81 on Friday and finished 13-over.
Phil Mickelson, whose 5-over finish on the final two holes Thursday doomed him, finished 9-over.
Collin Morikawa, the 2021 Open winner, finished 4-over and missed by one shot.
Justin Rose shot 6-over.
Tom Kim shot a 3-under 68 in the second round on Friday after nearly having to withdraw from the tournament when he severely sprained his right ankle in a freak accident at his rental house on Thursday night.
The South Korean said he stepped off the terrace and slipped on a wet patch of grass.
“It’s a very unfortunate thing,” Kim said. “It’s pretty bruised. I can’t really take my shoe off. I don’t know how I actually walked. But once the adrenaline kicked in, I got away with it. Now I’m a survivor.”
Kim is even par after 36 holes, 10 shots off the lead.
Both Fitzpatrick brothers made the cut at the game number, 2-over.
Matt Fitzpatrick, the older brother and winner of the 2022 US Open, shot 1-over on Friday to get there.
Alex Fitzpatrick, the younger brother by four years and playing in his first major championship, shot 1-under on Friday.