The Open 2018: Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood carry home hopes as two member of the ‘frat house’ sit top

There are only two shots separating the top 10 at Carnoustie

Ed Malyon
Carnoustie
Friday 20 July 2018 19:56
Comments
The Open Championship in numbers

And after the early torrents of rain had come and went, the sun returned to Carnoustie, lighting up a course that was desperately trying to push patches of brilliant green grass through the previously scorched ground.

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood had battled through the morning session, emerging soaked but happy to be in contention at -4 and -5 respectively and the leading British hopes. Ahead of them was Zach Johnson, who surpassed both of them to hold the lead alone at -6 before being joined by his housemate Kevin Kisner.

The evening had shaped up so well for Kisner, who was overnight leader (-5) and took a further three shots off par to begin the 18th hole on -8.

From there, however, things went rather awry as he found the infamous Barry’s Burn with his second shot and picked up a double bogey. It was a rare error from a player who has looked pinpoint so far, and one he struggled to explain.

“On 18 I had [the pin] as 160, so I only had 150 yards to carry it over the burn,” he said. “I went with an 8-iron thinking it would come out pretty quickly. Just making sure it wouldn't turn my club over to the left. But it came out like high flop shot to the right. It was weird.

“I don't know if it caught something or what happened. You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”

Kisner was nonetheless happy with his second impressive round of the week. Should he be able to continue this form, and particularly his dead-eye putting, he can continue to be a surprise contender for the 147th Open Championship.

That should make things interesting in ‘the frat house’ - the accommodation shared by Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker, Rickie Fowler, Kisner and his co-leader Zach Johnson.

Zach Johnson of the US tees off during the second round

Kisner spoke on Thursday night about the football matches in the garden that have helped players zone out from the demands of the day job.

“I wasn't in a fraternity in college, but it kind of feels like I'm going back to my alma mater,” said Johnson, “and I'm the old guy stepping into the current frat house.

“It does make the week significantly easier because of the amenities we have and because I'm with buddies and because I'm with guys that I can feed off and vice versa. It's never a bad thing to bond or hang out, whether you're competing or not.”

Kisner remains top of the leaderboard, but has housemate Zach Johnson for company

Behind the leading pair is a group of unconventional-looking golfers on -5, most notably Tommy Fleetwood for British golf fans but also 24-year-old Californian Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau - whose incredible back-story is too long to detail here - and the trucker-inspired look of Arizona native Pat Perez.

It was Perez who delivered the line that most succinctly summed up the confusing upper reaches of the leaderboard as Friday evening drew to a close, saying: “the best thing about this weekend is that nobody thinks I can win it.”

There might be a grain of truth in that, but the reality is that after two days of wild play and changing conditions there is still a big group of golfers who can win it - it’s just that nobody seems to have a clue who will.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in