Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Z. Johnson, Kisner share Open lead

Housemates Johnson and Kisner set British Open pace as Fleetwood leads home hopes Golf: Johnson and Kisner, housemates and British Open leaders
Cassandra Castillo | 22 July, 2018, 06:32

"We chatted away", said the Irish Open champion of his companion.

By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Sixty-two putts in 36 holes is never going to get it done at major championship level. He was three shots behind the leaders, who had yet to tee off in the afternoon at Carnoustie. It was his first round in the 60s on the weekend of an Open since 2007, when he shot a Saturday 69 at Carnoustie.

He had one of the best rounds of the day, and Woods is still four strokes behind the trio of Jordan Spieth, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele (all in the lead at 9-under) going into Sunday. "It won't be the case tomorrow".

"The goal tomorrow is just to be closer to the lead when I finish than when I start", Spieth said. "On a day like that, you just need to scramble and keep yourself in it". "Given what happened the last few years, I didn't know if that would ever happen again".

After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next. "I know that I'm playing well at the moment".

"Yeah, a lot of patience", said McIlroy, who describes the final three holes here as being a slog.

"Making par on the last after being in trouble off the tee was good, because you just never know what might happen tomorrow", said Scott, who was going to risk trying to carry Barry Burn and hit the green from the deep rough but chose to lay-up instead.

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But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth's attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue. "Maybe my wedge play wasn't quite as good as it should have been, but I give myself plenty of chances", McIlroy said. He managed to get up and down for par.

The 42-year-old Johnson, who won at St Andrews in 2015, survived miserable morning rain as he followed his 69 in the first round with a second-round 67 to move to six under par for the tournament.

Johnson did belatedly make up some ground yesterday with a run of four birdies in six holes on the inward nine but then he came to the... And then there's the presence of Woods, playing in the third-to-last group. The previous seven champions have 35 majors between them. And no wonder. Having hit more than 70 percent of the fairways and two out of every three greens, the 14-time major champion clearly knew he had left a few shots out there on a softer - but still no soft touch - Carnoustie links stacking up its first rainfall in nearly a month.

The Northern Irishman, looking for his first major in four years, had four birdies for the day as well as dropped shots at the 13th and 14th holes, and was happy with his effort.

"I love where my putter is and love my position going into the weekend", Kisner said. "I probably got the tougher side of the draw". "If the guys get to 10 (under), five back is certainly do-able". He's the only player here to visit the rare air of 8 under par, and he left that perch only on No. 18, which he double-bogeyed when he went into the Barry Burn, the rivulet of water that meanders through this region while rudely, inconveniently deciding to do part of its meandering through a major golf course.

Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing. Perez was tied for the lead until he hit into a bunker on the 18th hole and took bogey. It's the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday's outcome.

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