Beware The Mullet.
It was Cam Smith’s turn to tear up the Old Course on Friday at the benign 150th Open Championship.
Smith, one of golf’s best putters, used his flat stick to full effect on his way to an eight-under par 64 on Friday and that had him at an Open Championship record for strokes under par.
With his opening 67, he’s 13-under par, one better than the old record for two rounds.
“Just a really solid day — playing really smart — hitting good putts,” was how Smith summed up his day’s work that saw him take two-shot lead over first round wonder-boy Cameron Young. The two Camerons will play in the final twosome on Saturday — moving day.
For Young it was a simple analysis — “I just didn’t make as many putts today.” Young’s opening 64 was backed up by a 69 on day two.
There’s a wealth of talent stacked up, lined up right behind the two Cams.
Here’s how they stand:
Ten-Under Par (134):
Rory McIlroy (66-68): Rory got off to a slow start on Friday but was solid down the stretch. Rory had two bogeys, one more than he did on Thursday. He made a great birdie at the Road Hole from 22 feet to get to 11-under and had a good shot at a closing birdie but missed from nine feet, otherwise he’d be tied with Young. All facets of his game look solid, needs a good start on moving day.
Viktor Hovland (68-66): Produced the shot of the day when he second at the par four 15th found the bottom of the cup for eagle two. He’s hit a LOT of fine golf shots. Nice pairing with Rory in the next-to-last twosome on Saturday.
Nine-Under Par (135):
Dustin Johnson (68-68): Top defector on the renegade LIV series but failed to win either of the first two 54-hole exhibitions. Hasn’t won since the 2020 Masters but has his putter working well this week. Yes, he’s a threat.
Eight-Under Par (136):
Scottie Scheffler (68-68): A great PGA Tour vs. LIV series twosome on Saturday as Scottie will be paired with Dustin Johnson. Scottie hasn’t played his best golf yet. If he gets rolling, he could make a run at Smith.
Tyrrell Hatton (70-66): Mr. Volatile has kept things under control this week. Excellent round on Friday — will that momentum carry over to Saturday?
Seven-Under Par (137):
Patrick Cantlay (70-67): Finally! It’s about time Cantlay made a move in a major championship.
Adam Scott (72-65): The long putter worked pretty well on Friday — will it work two days in a row?
Sahith Theegala (69-69): Has learned to love being in the spotlight. Came close at the Travelers. He’s only three back — needs to play his best over the final 36 to contend.
So now the question becomes — how far back is too far back? We believe that the winner will come from the eight players mentioned so far.
History of The Open at St. Andrews says that 20 of the last 22 champions were in the top four after 36-holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick is the most talented of the half-dozen players in at six-under par. But they’re all a full seven shots behind the leader.
The 150th Open Championship is in the hands of Cameron Smith. As good as he putts, as well as he’s played it looks like this one is his to win or lose.
But with 36-holes of links golf to be played, anything can happen.