Erik van Rooyen is into the weekend at the British Open — and survived a scare to get there.
The former Gophers golfer shot an even-par 71 on Friday at Carnoustie to remain at 4 under for the championship, his first major. He’s tied for sixth place with Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar, Tony Finau and Zander Lombard — all two shots back of leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner.
Van Rooyen, a South Africa native who played at Minnesota from 2009-13, started Friday in a tie for second at 67, just one shot back of Kisner. Van Rooyen’s day was steady, making three birdies to offset three bogeys. He finished with seven consecutive pars, including a 10-foot save on the 18th hole.
That came after a tense delay, caused when van Rooyen’s putter slipped out of his hand and landed on his ball marker.
The question became whether that action caused his marker to move on the green. It’s a rare penalty, but one that infamously cost Ian Poulter in a playoff eight years ago at the Dubai World Championship.
The rule has since changed, and in this case after looking at several camera angles and slow-motion replay officials from the R&A determined van Rooyen’s putter drop was accidental, his coin had not moved and no penalty was given.
A composed van Rooyen told the Golf Channel after his round, “I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down actually [gave me] a different read when I sat down and looked at it again.
“Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”
Van Rooyen tees off at 9:30 a.m. (Twin Cities time) Saturday in Round 3 alongside Kuchar, last year’s runner-up.
Tom Lehman, another Gophers graduate and the 1996 British Open champion, finished 4 over in his 23rd appearance in the event and missed the cut by a stroke.