Jordan Spieth hoping for hair-raising day with Tiger Woods after close shave

23 Juillet, 2018, 09:59 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Spieth's title defense at British Open ends without a bang

Many analysts howled at Woods' ultra-conservative strategy across the early rounds here at big, brawny and brutish Carnoustie. He led the field in driving accuracy but routinely left himself 200-plus yards for his approach shots, relying heavily on some vintage iron play. A tap-in at the par-five 14th lifted him to the top of a Major championship leaderboard for the first time since the second round at the 2013 Masters.

Johnson and Kisner are staying in a house of seven players - five of them major champions - and share the lead at 6-under 136. It was the second straight year that No. 1 and No. 2 in the world missed the cut in a major, and Johnson became the first No. 1 player to miss the cut at the British Open since Luke Donald in 2011. He was four shots behind. Joining them was Tommy Fleetwood, who dropped three shots in two holes on the back nine on his way to a 71.

Xander Schauffele was hacking his way through fescue.

"For a while", McIlroy conceded, "I thought Tiger was going to win".

"Jeez, under those conditions, I would have taken that score today going out", said the Northern Irishman. "I doubt he's been called Zach that many times". "It didn't feel any different". And it's the first time he has had to look over his shoulder at Woods.

Schauffele birdied five, six and seven on his way to a 67, bouncing back from a bogey at the 17th with a birdie at the last to take a share of the lead going into the final day. "I feel really positive for tomorrow, and I'm going to fight for it".

And here is Woods at the halfway point of The Open at 142, even par, but wondering what might have been. He followed it up on 12 with another misadventure in the rough, leading to a momentum-killing bogey. I really did. I hit a lot of good shots.

With the leaders still on the course, Woods' deficit will stretch, but he will be in contention come Sunday.

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The predicted winds materialised on cue to add an extra ingredient to what was already looking like a thrilling climax. Kisner, who started the day in a three-way tie for the lead with Spieth and Schauffele, took double-bogey on No. 2.

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From there, standing beside the burn, Woods played conservatively to the proper path, then chipped gorgeously over another portion of the winding burn and within saving distance of the hole, closing with a fine par save.

Even Scottish playing partner Russell Knox, who briefly stole the American's thunder with a superb eagle on the 14th, later described his hero Woods as a "mythical" figure. Woods hit 13 greens in regulation and made four birdies.

"We're not there yet", Woods said.

The 29-year-old said: "I didn't hit driver as much today, so I didn't have as much of a chance to hit it offline, but there were still a couple of shots out there that weren't great". Who hasn't? It's kind of a dream come true just to have the opportunity. "You've got to be fearless and aim down the left side and hope it doesn't go left out of bounds or right into the bunkers", he said.

McIlroy remained without a major victory since winning his fourth at the PGA Championship in 2014. "I'm not getting ahead of myself, I'm just in a good position", the 24-year-old Texan told the BBC.

But Woods made the most of his good fortune to make par and added: "It kept me in the fight".

"If I just clean up those two holes and play them the way I'm supposed to play them, I think I'd probably have the best round in the afternoon wave". I'm trying to see the line and trying to roll it over the line.

Tiger Woods is on the move in the British Open, edging to within a stroke of the lead on the front nine. He was surrounded by his usual entourage, but also two new, younger additions to his clan.

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