SANDWICH – The Latest on the British Open (all times local):
Louis Oosthuizen is in the British Open record look with the lowest 36-hole score.
Despite finally making his first bogey of the championship on the 16th hole of the second round, Oosthuizen had a 65 and led by two shots over Collin Morikawa.
He was at 11-under 129. That breaks the British Open record of 130 first set by Nick Faldo at Muirfield in 1992 and matched by Brandt Snedeker at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2012.
Oosthuizen narrowly missed a birdie on the final hole that would have tied the major championship record Brooks Koepka set in the 2019 PGA Championship.
But he still has 36 holes to go, and a lot of possibilities behind him. Jordan Spieth was in a three-way tie for the lead until playing the last six holes in 1 over. He shot 67 and was three shots behind. Dustin Johnson shot 65 and was four back.
Scoring was so good in benign weather that at least seven players shot 65 or lower. One of them was U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm. He shot 64.
What looked to be a three-man chase going into the weekend at the British Open is turning into a one-man show. The star is Louis Oosthuizen.
The South African had a tap-in birdie at No. 12. He holed a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 13. And then he hit two beauties to about 25 feet on the par-5 14th and made that for an eagle.
Just like that, Oosthuizen was at 12 under and went three shots clear of Collin Morikawa. Jordan Spieth was tied for the lead until he failed to birdie the 14th and three-putted the 15th for bogey and dropped to 8 under.
At stake are some major championship records.
Oosthuizen can break the 36-hole record at the British Open if he finishes at 11-under 129. One more birdie and he can set the major championship record of 128 that Brooks Koepka set at Bethpage Black in the 2019 PGA Championship.
Stop if you've heard this one before: Brooks Koepka is in the mix at a major.
The four-time major champion reeled off eight birdies in the second round of the British Open, more than enough to offset his mistakes. It led to a 66 and put Koepka at 5-under 135. Jordan Spieth was tied with Collin Morikawa at 9 under and still had five holes remaining.
Regardless, Koepka will be among the late starters on the weekend.
Along with his four majors, Koepka has finished among the top 5 in 10 majors over the last five years. He was runner-up at the PGA Championship and tied for fourth in the U.S. Open.
And he saved his best shot for the end. During a television interview, Koepka said he was driving it great, adding, “I love my driver.”
That was a not-so-vague shot at Bryson DeChambeau, who complained on Thursday that his driver “sucks.” DeChambeau later apologized when his equipment company, Cobra, called him out for his comments.
Rory McIlroy has birdied No. 18 for the second time and looks likely to be playing on the weekend at the British Open.
He might be too far back to contend for the claret jug, though.
McIlroy rolled in a putt from 10 feet to complete a second straight even-par round of 70. He was nine shots off the lead and unlikely to be adding to his four major titles.
McIlroy started his second round with back-to-back bogeys and did the same at Nos. 16 and 17 to drop to 1 over for the tournament. He was on the projected cut line at that stage.
The rough at Royal St. George's has claimed its first victim in Will Zalatoris.
The Masters runner-up withdrew from the British Open with a back injury after opening with a 69. Zalatoris says the shot he tried to hit out of thick grass on the 15th hole Thursday sent a tingle down his left leg. He says he's been advised not risk any further damage.
Zalatoris says he thought about not not playing the final three holes but felt he should finish the round. He says he tried to hit balls Friday morning and do more work in the gym. His back didn't get any better. He says he was gutted to have to pull out.
Collin Morikawa caught the edge of the cup and had to settle for par on the final hole for a 64 in the British Open.
He was at 9-under 131 and three shots ahead of those who have finished at Royal St. George's.
There was potential for scoring records. Morikawa was 7 under with four holes to play and needed two birdies to post a 61 for the lowest score in major championship history. But after going 27 holes without a bogey, he missed a 5-foot par putt on the 15th hole.
He finished with three pars, and missed by one shot tying the 36-hole record at the British Open of 130.
Don't expect that to keep Morikawa up at night. The 24-year-old Californian is playing his first British Open and is playing some of his best golf.
Morikawa also won the PGA Championship in his debut.
Meanwhile, Will Zalatoris has withdrawn after an opening 69. The R&A was still trying to get details beyond saying it was due to injury.
There appears to be no stopping Phil Mickelson now.
The six-time major champion went 28 holes at Royal St. George's before making his first birdie at the British Open. And then he made it two in a row.
This has been a week to forget for the 51-year-old Mickelson. Two months after he became the oldest major champion by winning the PGA Championship, he shot 80 in the first round at Royal St. George's. That was his highest start in 27 appearances at the British Open.
Mickelson was even par for the second round, 10 over for the tournament.
Germany amateur Matthias Schmid will be playing on the weekend at the British Open after a 65 in the second round at Royal St. George's.
Schmid is a two-time European Amateur champion who played his college golf at Louisville. He finished 14th in the BMW International Open on the European Tour recently.
He opened with a 74 and followed that by playing bogey-free to reach 1 under for the championship. Schmid was particularly sharp on the back nine when he returned a 31. This is his second straight appearance in the British Open, and his second major this year. Schmid qualified for the U.S. Open.
An amateur did not make the cut at Royal Portrush in the most recent British Open. Schmid might have some company on the weekend. Yuxin Lin of China, who won the Asia-Pacific Amateur in 2019, shot 69 in the first round. He plays in the afternoon.
It hasn't taken long for Collin Morikawa to figure out this business of links golf.
The former PGA champion made back-to-back birdies at the turn. He made back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th. That put Morikawa at 6-under par through 12 holes in the second round at the British Open. And there's suddenly the possibility of the major championship record of 62 set by Branden Grace at Royal Birkdale in 2017.
The 24-year-old Californian has made only one bogey so far at Royal St. George's, and he's on a run of 26 consecutive holes with par or better.
He was at 9 under for the championship, three shots clear of a pair of South Africans. One is Daniel Van Tonder, who was in the second group off and shot 66. The other is Louis Oosthuizen, who plays in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy keeps slipping farther behind. He three-putted the first for bogey. He missed the green with a wedge at No. 2 for another bogey. He finally picked up a birdie on the fourth, but was 10 shots back.
Collin Morikawa is enjoying his first links test.
The 2020 PGA champion birdied the first and fifth holes in his second round at the British Open and is tied for second on 5 under par. That’s one shot behind Louis Oosthuizen.
Tony Finau is another American making a run at Royal St George’s. He rolled in a putt from 10 feet at the par-4 eighth hole for his third birdie of the day and is 3 under.
Finau was third at Royal Portrush in 2019 and tied for ninth at Carnoustie the year before.
The world's best golfers are encountering overcast conditions and a light breeze at the start of the second day at the British Open.
And birdies were proving hard to come by early on at Royal St. George's. There wasn't one on the first or second holes among the first eight groups to tee off.
Francesco Molinari, the 2018 champion at Carnoustie, did eventually make birdie at the par-4 opening hole after an approach to within 2 feet and he moved to 3 under for the tournament.
That leaves Molinari three shots off the lead held by Louis Oosthuizen, who is among the afternoon starters.
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