With 2 rounds down, the weekend is upon us in Sandwich, England. The conditions have been perfect for the players, and this resulted in some low scoring and a fairly tight leaderboard. However, only one player can lift the Claret Jug. Which players have a chance to do that come Sunday at the Open Championship?
Louis Oosthuizen (-11)
What an amazing run Louis Oosthuizen has been on. Louis is coming off of back-to-back runner-ups at majors and has 6 top 10s on the season. He just broke the record for the lowest 36 hole score at a British Open.
He is having one of his best seasons on tour, ranking 1st in strokes gained putting and second in total strokes gained.
One big question mark for Louis is can he finish? Louis led the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and could not get the job done. He shot a one-over-par 71 and bogeyed the 17th to finish one back of Jon Rahm. Louis also started his Sunday at the PGA Championship just 2 shots back of Mickelson and responded with a 1 over 73 to finish, where he started the day 2 shots back.
With that being said, there is still lots of golf to be played, and the way Louis has been playing as of late, it is impossible to count him out.
Collin Morikawa (-9)
What a round from Collin Morikawa on Friday firing a 6 under par round to put himself just 2 back of Louis. Morikawa is an interesting player here because, in my opinion, his game is not suited much for links golf.
He is one of the best ball strikers on tour and ranks 1st in strokes gained on approach. He has hit 83.33% of greens in regulation this week. However, the big surprise for Collin has been his putter.
He is tied for 5th in putts per green in regulation this week. Putting and short game is one of the most important skills for links golf because with the windy conditions and courses playing so fast, you may often find yourself missing greens. Collin is one of the worst putters on tour, ranking 172nd in strokes gained putting.
To see putts falling has to be a real confidence boost for Collin. If the putter stays hot, Collin can win, but if he regresses, I think it will be tough for him to chase down the leaders.
Jordan Spieth (-8)
Jordan Spieth is back in business and finds himself in contention for another major. As opposed to Morikawa, I think links golf is suited for a guy like Spieth.
Spieth is 8 under, and his putter has not even heated up yet this week. He is ranking in the bottom half of the field for average putts per green. His ball-striking has looked amazing, and as always, his wedge game has looked perfect.
If Jordan can get some putts to fall, he will be able to make a run this weekend. Especially if the wind picks up, Spieth is a guy who will be able to avoid bogeys with such a solid short game.
Dustin Johnson (-7)
Ever so quietly, the world number 1 crept up the leaderboard late on Friday afternoon with 4 birdies on his back nine and finished up a birdie on 18 to put himself within 4 of the lead. He is ranked 11th in the field in driving accuracy, which is huge for a guy like Dustin Johnson, who can stick it close from anywhere as long as it is in the fairway.
He has also hit 78% of greens in regulation and is averaging just 1.5 putts per green. This is a man who can go on ridiculous runs if his putter gets hot. He can make his presence felt on the leaderboard even if he is a few strokes off the lead.
If DJ can carry his momentum into tomorrow and get within 2 of the lead on Sunday, he will have a very good chance to win.
Scottie Scheffler has played solid golf this week but is still young and has not found himself in contention at many majors. I think he has an outside chance at 7 under, but he is facing lots of pressure and has a lot of big names ahead of him.
Jon Rahm, with an amazing round today, put himself right back in contention along with Brooks Koepka at 5 under 6 shots back of Louis. I think to put themselves in it on Sunday, and these guys will need to shoot at least 3 under Saturday, especially if the conditions remain the way they have.
My Open Champion Pick
I like DJ to hoist the Claret Jug on Sunday. He has been playing great golf and has the most well-rounded game out of anyone within 5 of the lead. In order to win The Open, it is going to take a little of everything, and Dustin Johnson has proven that he is capable of doing a lot of everything.