Collin Morikawa came up just shy of a record-setting round Friday as he fired a 6-under 64 and took the early lead in the second round of The Open Championship at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England.
Morikawa, 24, birdied seven of his first 14 holes and was on pace to set a course record and challenge Branden Grace’s major championship record of 62 at The Open in 2017.
But Morikawa three-putted for bogey on No. 15 and missed birdie putts on the last three holes to settle for 64. He took a three-shot lead into the clubhouse at 9 under just before 8 a.m. ET.
The PGA Tour leader in strokes gained: approach, Morikawa dialed in several stellar iron shots to hit 15 greens in regulation and set up short birdie putts, including on Nos. 9 and 14.
Morikawa won the 2020 PGA Championship, his debut at the tournament and the first of seven majors in a 12-month stretch concluding in England after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world golf schedule to reshuffle. On Friday he moved into contention to bookend that run with a victory in his Open debut as well.
First-round leader Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa (6 under Thursday), Jordan Spieth (5 under) and Brian Harman (5 under) teed off later in the afternoon. Spieth birdied his first two holes to jump back into second at 7 under.
Friday morning’s sunny conditions allowed for several low numbers. Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo matched Morikawa’s 64, South African Daniel van Tonder scored a 66 and Germany’s Marcel Siem shot a second straight 67, tying the three of them for second at 6 under.
Grillo poured in nine birdies to offset three bogeys. His approach into the final green glanced a slope with some side-spin, rolled left and touched the cup, just missing a hole-out eagle that would have handed him a surprise 63.
Of the several highly ranked players to tee off early, few besides Morikawa made noise. Justin Thomas posted a 3-under 67 to move to 1 under for the week. He eagled the par-5 seventh but parred the next 10 holes before a birdie at the last.
Xander Schauffele posted an up-and-down 71 to drop to even for the week. Rory McIlroy turned in his second even-par 70.
Englishman Tyrrell Hatton badly missed the 18th green with his second shot and snapped his iron in half. Earlier in the round, he was seen giving the middle finger to someone in the gallery. Hatton finished with a 70 that kept him at 2 over for the week.
Phil Mickelson followed a dismal 80 in the first round with a second-round 72, but at 12 over he is certain to miss the 36-hole cut (top 70 players and ties). The cut line was projected to be 1 over at 10 a.m. ET.
Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris withdrew Friday with a back injury after shooting a 1-under 69 in the first round that included an eagle hole-out. In a statement, Zalatoris said a shot out of heavy rough on No. 15 Thursday “sent a tingling down (his) left leg” and he was advised not to keep playing.
–Field Level Media
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