Argentine Emiliano Grillo, one of seven Latin Americans who started the Open, made 64 strokes (-6) and tied for seventh place with -6. This lap by Grillo ties another record lap by an Argentine in a Major. At the 1980 Open, at Muirfield, Horacio Carbonetti made 64 shots in the second round. If we go to the score under par, Roberto De Vicenzo also scored -6 in Augusta in 1968, in that famous final round … although he had made -7.
Grillo’s return was a nice seesaw, as he had three bogeys and nine birdies. And it would have been complete if the second shot at 18, instead of just biting the hole and being hit, had gone in. “I’m very happy, who wouldn’t be with a round of 64 in a Major. I would also be very happy if I had done it playing with my friends. But it was also one of those nice rounds. Good weather, the public super nice, I felt like I was playing at home, ”said a smiling Cricket at the end of his big round. Royal St George seems to be the paradise of good iron players, and in that category Cricket shines like few others.
Of the seven Latin Americans who started on Thursday, only Grillo remain in the tournament, Joaquín Niemann (-1) and Abraham Ancer (even). Outside were Sebastián Muñoz (+2), Ricardo Celia (+4), Carlos Ortíz (+5) and Abel Gallegos, the young fan of just 19 years old who arrived at the Open from the hand of the Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) that he won in 2020 in Mexico. About his experience he said: “It was incredible to be able to play this tournament with so much history and so important for world golf. My plans from here will be to follow the professional path ”.
The Open Championship. That’s how the British like to name their golf open, or simply The Open, as if there were no other. This is the 149th edition that is being played at Royal St George’s, in Sandwich, England, very close to London. The truth is that the “Open” is the oldest golf tournament in the world, and also, in theory, the most open, since any player, professional or amateur, can qualify to play it. The first edition was played 161 years ago, on October 17, 1860, at Prestwick Golf Club, in Scotland, obviously. If golf were a religion, that small and untamed country would be the obligatory pilgrimage destination for its faithful.
This 149th edition of “The Open” should have been played in 2020. The R&A, the governing body of world golf, was quick to cancel the event at the dawn of the pandemic. It was smart to keep the headquarters at Royal St George’s since the next edition, the 150, originally scheduled for this year 2021, had to be played at St Andrew’s, “The Cathedral” and the cancellation did not affect that predilection to do in that special stage the round number editions, which will be next year.
At the top of the board, South African Louis Oosthuizen is again a factor in a Major this year. With rounds of 64 and 65 strokes respectively he totals -11 and leads the tournament by two strokes. The American Collin Morikawa once again amazes the world of golf with an extraordinary display of solidity and poise. With laps of 66 and 65 and a total of -9, he ran second. Morikawa has only been on the PGA Tour for three years and already has four victories, one at last year’s PGA Championship. Third with -8 is Jordan Spieth, who this year has returned to something like his best version, the one we saw in 2015 when he won the Masters, the US Open and the FedEx Cup. Spieth also won the British Open in 2017 at Royal Birkdale.
The scores have been particularly low so far, and the forecast does not seem to announce great difficulties. For this reason it is possible that this year records will be broken. Henrik Stenson’s 20 under par at Royal Troon in 2016 may be in jeopardy. Oosthuizen would just have to repeat what he did so far, for example.
We are already halfway to this, the last Major of the year. There are 36 holes to play before crowning the Golfer of the Year Champion on Sunday. Can South African Louis Oosthuizen pull it off and perhaps become Player of the Year? Will Jordan Spieth be the one to add a fourth Major and a second Claret Jug to his display case? Or will the young Collin Morikawa be the one who continues without missing a single shot, as he has been doing until now and consecrates himself?
The conditions at Royal St Georges are not difficult enough for a player to cut himself. The greens are receptive and there are a number of birdie holes and a couple of par fives that can give eagles. The ‘leaderboard’ has many of the best iron players today. There is the best of the best. The greens are not super fast either and that means that players who are not so good with the putter, like Morikawa and Grillo, can stand out and take advantage of their extraordinary play with the irons.
Although the focus is always on the top of the board in Majors, this is a good time to look a little lower. For example, Dustin Johnson is four strokes away, and you know what he can do if he gets fine. Jon Rham is six strokes away. It may seem like a lot but there are 36 holes to go and few are playing as well as him today. Brooks Koepka ties with Rham and likes the Majors more than anything in the world. Some of these heavyweights can give a big surprise in the third round and give the blow.
There were several surprises in the cut. We have to start with the PGA Championship champion. Phil Mickelson made just three birdies in his two rounds and is already flying back to San Diego. And you are not alone on that flight. Matt Kuchar, Jason Day, Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Reed, Marc Leishman and Francesco Molinari also missed the cut.
With European schedules that force you to get up early to see this great show live, the third round of the 149 Open Championship is about to begin in Royal St Georges, England.