A steady four rounds at last year’s British Open helped Hunter Mahan earn his second-highest finish ever at the event, but he’ll certainly be hoping to improve on that. He had yet to turn pro the last time Muirfield hosted the event in 2002, so the biggest challenge for him may be figuring out how the Scottish course works.
Mahan’s top finish at The Open was sixth place in 2007, where he was able to improve his score with each day in the tournament.
Mahan’s history at the event is puzzling. After his spectacular 2007 outing, he missed two straight cuts in 2008 and 2009 before bouncing back with a 37th-place finish in 2010. He then missed the cut again in 2011.
He certainly isn’t one of the longer drivers on the tour, but his ball-striking ability could be his greatest asset. He ranks 70th in average drive distance and 25th in accuracy this season. He’s coming off his best finish ever at a major, coming in fourth place at the U.S. Open last month. He was able to put himself in a solid position heading into the final day of the tournament, but a 75 on Sunday saw him fall out of contention for his first career major title.
Mahan keeps getting closer at majors and could certainly break through if he gets into a groove. His game may not be set up for success at The Open Championship, but if the conditions are right, he can definitely make some noise. It wouldn’t be out of the question for him to post a few good rounds and find himself in the thick of things at one of the game’s most historic courses.