10 Players To Watch During Weekend At 2013 British Open
2013 British Open: 10 Players To Watch
Friday's 2013 British Open second round was filled with players struggling on the course and others finding success. After a crazy round with the leader quickly changing back and forth, we can now take a deep breath and focus on Saturday's third round. The top of the leader board is tight, with the top ten players only separated by four strokes.
Saturday's forecast includes thunderstorms, which is good and bad. If the thunderstorms turn out to just be rain, then the course will get a little soaking, slowing down conditions. On the other hand, if thunderstorms strike, play will be suspended, and that could put even more pressure on the golfers. Likewise, the storms might cause the players to be impatient if a weather delay lasts long. Golf isn't about going fast or being in a rush, and doing so can negatively affect a player's play.
After an action-filled second round, it will be interesting to see what the third round holds. It could include another player breaking a club, another ESPN camera breaking, or the latest leader struggling, like first-round leader Zach Johnson did Friday.
Miguel Angel Jimenez holds the lead through two rounds at three-under par and will look to hold onto his one-stroke lead. However, there are other players gunning for his lead. The top 24 players are within five strokes of Jimenez's three-under score.
Now sit back and click through 10 players to watch this weekend at the 2013 British Open. If you think the first two rounds were fun to watch, then the third and final rounds will be a blast. A tight leader board means the pressure will be on the players. One bad shot and they could drop their stroke advantage to more than one golfer.
No. 10: Miguel Angel Jimenez
Clubhouse leader Miguel Angel Jimenez is sitting on a one-stroke lead, but that lead is not safe. Jimenez will need a solid third round in order to keep his lead on Sunday. Depending on how the group plays, even par might not be good enough. However, Friday's even-par 71 allowed Jimenez to take the lead from Zach Johnson.
Jimenez will be playing with a consistent Henrik Stenson, who has shot one-under 71 two days in a row and sits one stroke back. I sense that the pressure will catch up to Jimenez, and he will struggle, especially on the back nine. Look for him to still be in contention Sunday, but he will not be leading the Open Championship.
No. 9: Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood got off to a fast start in the second round, but he faltered a tad on the back nine. He could easily be leading this major. However, he isn't, and it will be interesting to watch how he starts off the third round. His third-round start will dictate how he does through the entire round.
He can forget about Friday's somewhat rough finish and start off Saturday strong, or his bad finish could affect his third round play. Oh by the way, Westwood will have additional pressure being paired with Tiger Woods.
The ball is in your court Westwood. You sit one off the lead, but if the back nine performance from Friday trickles into Saturday, you could be out of contention and winning on Sunday.
No. 8: Jordan Spieth
19-year-old Jordan Spieth's past week or so has been eventful to say the least. He didn't expect to be contending at Murfield. After winning last week's John Deere Classic, he had to have his mother send him clothes and his passport in order to fly to Scotland. It's Spieth's first Open Championship, but his play did not get the memo. Spieth has shot respectable rounds of 69 and 74 and currently sits at one-over.
He is the latest young player sensation since 14-year-old Guan Tianlang stole the spotlight at the Masters. Spieth could be next, and so far, his first two rounds has turned some heads. Many thought he would enjoy the experience of the Open Championship and miss the cut, but Spieth is in a good spot after two rounds of play.
No. 7: Adam Scott
2013 Masters winner Adam Scott is finding success at yet another major. Unlike, 2013 US Open winner Justin Rose, who missed the cut, Scott has put together two solid rounds and sits four shots back at one-over.
Scott and his caddie Steve Williams, Tiger Woods' former caddie, have experience in the limelight and have not bowed under pressure. Scott showed that at The Masters and could line-up a serious run for another major victory this year.
For now, Scott looks to get over the even par hump and pressure the leader at two-under. If the first two rounds are any indication, Scott will find ample birdie chances and make his fair share, but bogeys will thwart any true run up the leaderboard. However, Scott could easily get into an effective rhythm and prove me wrong. That's why he is one of the players to watch this weekend.
No. 6: Phil Mickelson
A confident Phil "Lefty" Mickelson showed up during the first round, but thanks to two double-bogeys, he slid back in the second round. However, he didn't have the worst day by far and finished the day with a three-under 74 and sits pretty at one-over.
Mickelson will be grouped with Justin Leonard on Saturday and will need a low round to stick in the mix for Sunday. Another 74 will most likely knock him out of contention, but "Lefty" has impressed us many times in the past and can do it again.
No. 5: Martin Laird
You might be asking, who's Martin Laird? I did too at first glance. He's from Scotland, and it's obvious he loves his home country with Scottish flags on his belt buckle, bag and shirt. Likewise, he is the highest Scot on the leaderboard, sitting at one-under par after two rounds.
Can he continue to play well, or will he collapse in the final two rounds? That is something to watch, and I know the local fan base will be rooting for him. How fitting would it be for Laird to win a major in Scotland. I also like when an American wins the US Open, and I wouldn't complain if Laird won the Open Championship.
However, I think the odds of him winning are slim, but miraculous things have happened before.
No. 4: Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson shot an impressive first-round 68 followed by a second-round one-over 72. His one-over kept him in contention, but it prevented him from taking over as leader. However, he only trails Jimenez by one stroke.
For Johnson's sake, he better shoot another 68 rather than a 72. Obviously, he will be in much better shape come Sunday.
Once again, trailing the leader by one stroke is definitely a good thing. Johnson could easily be the leader after the third round, but he could falter Saturday and fall down the leaderboard. During the third round, Johnson will be playing alongside local Martin Laird.
No. 3: Carl Schwartzel
After shooting a second-round best three-under 68, South African golfer Carl Schwartzel leaped up the leader board and into contention heading into the weekend. He shot a four-over 75 on Thursday, so he isn't totally in the clear, but he sits four shots out of the lead.
It's totally reasonable to catch the leader from four out, but he can't afford to shoot another 75 like Thursday. Watch out for which Schwarztel shows up this weekend -- the over-par or under-par Schwartzel.
No. 2: Zach Johnson
While Dustin Johnson held his ground on Friday, Zach Johnson collapsed and fell down the leader board. After a great first-round 66 with an early tee time, Johnson fell apart with a late tee time and shot a four-over 75.
I don't see Johnson shooting another 66 at Murfield, but he can not afford another 75. For his sake, he might need to hit the practice green and driving range before Saturday's 9:50 a.m (EST) tee time.
No. 1: Tiger Woods
Last but not least, 2013 British Open favorite Tiger Woods is finally playing injury-free golf. Woods started off well with a first-round two-under 69, but his poor-putting prevented him from a second straight under-par performance. He finished the second round with an even-par 71.
Woods is always fun to watch, and he definitely has experience. Most of the third-round coverage will be fixed on him. For television purposes, ratings are higher when Woods is in contention come the weekend.
He will be playing with Lee Westwood and only sits one back of the lead. Can old Tiger show up this weekend and steal the show, or will his Major drought continue. One thing is for sure, we will be watching all weekend to see Woods chase Jack Nicklaus' major victories record.