TOO OLD?: Making rash decisions on the course is rarely a problem for Mark O'Meara and Tom Lehman.
The two former British Open winners, 56 and 54, respectively, parlayed experience into scintillating opening rounds. Friday, though, was a different story.
O'Meara, the 1998 winner at Royal Birkdale, followed up his 67 with a 78; Lehman, who won at Royal Lytham in 1996, followed his 68 with a 77.
"I just played pretty poorly, to be honest with you," O'Meara said. "Bogeying the last two holes didn't help."
"Really ugly golf," Lehman said. "From the beginning to the end, just seems like I got progressively worse."
Lehman added "there's an element of patience that really suits that kind of course we had yesterday."
But he also conceded giving away yards and years to the rest of the field made winning tougher as the tournament stretched on.
"I think the good rounds are as good, but the bad rounds, you don't hit it as far or bring more of those bunkers into play or start to miss it a little bit. Bunkers that are out of play for the younger guys are in play for me. You kind of get it. Today is a good example."
If either golfer rallies on the weekend, he would become the oldest ever to win a major. Julius Boros, who was 48 when he won the PGA Championship in 1968, holds that distinction.
FEAST OR FAMINE: With Graeme McDowell locking up a spot on the weekend, the rest of the field is advised to look out.
The Northern Irishman and former U.S. Open champion hasn't been a threat in either of the season's first two majors, missing the cut. McDowell also failed to make the cut in five of the eight tournaments he's played since the Masters — but won all three when he made it to Sunday.
"Not like me to make a cut, so I'm pretty happy with that," he said after shooting an even-par 71 Friday, for a two-day 146 total. "Get your money on me now. ... I certainly didn't want to be sitting at home watching this on TV this weekend."
Despite playing links golf growing up, McDowell's record in nine previous Open appearances hasn't been stellar either. But he appears to be trending in the right direction. His only top-10 finish in this championship came last year at Royal Lytham, when he tied for fifth.
"This golf course is going to get nothing but tougher and tougher. If I can go out tomorrow and shoot a number about, who knows? It's tough to see the leaders getting beyond 4 or 5 under par," he said. "Literally anything a little under par could win at this point."