“They were the kind of conditions you want to play in when you come over for a visit with a bunch of your buddies, not when you have to post a score.”
That’s how Jordan Spieth described what transpired Friday afternoon at the 145th Open Championship when the winds screamed off the Firth of Clyde like a wild banshee, intent on torturing the players left on the course at Royal Troon.
With wind blowing 25-35 miles per hour, only one real contenders emerged from the afternoon half of the draw.
World’s No. 1 Jason Day had success to the tune of a one-under par round of 70 that put him in at one-over par. “Felt like a shot a lot lower. It was coming in sideways. Balls were blowing everywhere, guys were losing balls, it was hard.”
Spieth found himself right on the cutline at four-over par after rounds of 71-75. “Realistically, it doesn’t look like I can win and that’s a bummer,” said Spieth, who will start the weekend 14 shots behind leader Phil Mickelson. “Even if I go out and shoot 10-under, that might not be good enough, but you have to set your sights on something.”
Day wasn’t about to admit defeat. “Crazier things have happened. I just have to start inching my way toward the leaders. You gotta kind of take it as it is.”
Of all the players on that side of the draw, only Rory McIlroy was in any position to make a move up the leaderboard on Saturday. After a brilliant 71 in the wind, McIlroy stood at two-under. “I’ll just have to go out and make the most of it and see if I can put something together in the conditions,” McIlroy said of his hopes for the weekend.
The good news is that all of four of the top players in the world will be around for the weekend. Dustin Johnson finished in the morning and like McIlroy, isn’t out of contention. He’s two under and had a simple statement after his day:
“I’ll find out over the next two days how good I am,” Johnson said.