Once again, while many are sleeping, the third round of the British Open is under way. The course at Royal Lathym-St. Annes is in beautiful shape, and as far as weather goes, for the United Kingdom, has been picture perfect ~ chilly ~ but the rains have stayed at bay. Even though, either from a sprinkler system or Mother Nature ~ there is standing water in the bunkers and the course sand is very wet to hit out of which only adds a degree of difficulty in the infamously deep bucket “traps”. Just not the ‘light and fluffy’ golfers are used to in the States.
Some continue play today, and others won’t be among the qualified. Unfortunately, after yesterday’s round ~ Phil Mickelson was cut, ending his two day appearance at +11. A great player having a very rough go in his past twelve of fourteen rounds ~ two rounds of last weekend’s Scottish Open, he did shot under par. Mickelson finished fifth in that tournament. But, he found the Royal Lathym was unyielding. Hitting into a bucket bunker at the green on the sixth hole…was just part of his downhill round yesterday. His ball landed within a 1/2″ from standing water in the bunker, did get a free drop away in very lumpy course sand. Blasted the ball only to disappear on the lip of the bunker in very high water grass. At that point, Mickelson asked the official ~ “Isn’t there a rule about being able to see your ball to hit it?”! Unfortunately for Mickelson, the answer was “no”. He missed his two foot putt which circled the cup but refused to drop giving him a double bogie for the hole. Mickelson had shot a 73 the day before and confident he could improve. Alas, his game only got worse for him yesterday with a 78. His last cut from a major was in 2007. From all statements made ~ I do believe Mickelson was as perplexed as anyone as to where his game went array.
A highlight of the tournament ~ “A 2-over 72 landed Tom Watson just inside the cut line at 143, enabling the 62-year-old five-time Open champion to extend his own record as the oldest man to play on the weekend since the British Open went to a 36-hole cut. Watson is 13 strokes behind.”
With Brandt Snedeker holding the lead in the British Open at -10, one stroke behind is Adam Scott. However ~ Tiger Woods is right on their heels. Tiger is only four off the lead at -6. He shot a round of 67, which matched his 3 under the first day. His shot of the day!! Hole #18 ~ out of the bunker, to the hole and outta sight! The Tiger pump and roar followed …. good to see that back. Some say arrogant ~ I say, yeeeessss! “) He has played steady and precise golf, without getting into too many problem areas for the past two days. He will be teeing off a bit later today ~ and I certainly will be watching. Baseball will just have to wait another day.
Along with those at the top, we have Therbjorn Oelesen at -5, Jason Dufner and Matt Kuchar -4 (5 way tie), Ernie Els -3, Steve Stricker -2 (4 way tie), Bubba Watson -1 (14 way tie), Vijay Singh +1 (after today’s round at even par), and Padriag Harrington +2…currently on the 16th and holding.
As we know in any sport ~ much can happen between present and near future. As we have seen in many golf tournaments, the lead can change hands many times. So will be interesting to see just how “the wash comes out”! However, with conditions at the Royal Lathym-St. Annes being so ideal ~ makes for a plus to those playing. Therefore, so far, poor play can’t be blame on the “elements”.
To everyone ~ enjoy your games of choice today. Always ~ Elichap