Day 2 at ROYAL BIRKDALE
Keep that card
Zach Johnson: Welcome back, Zach. The 2015 champion improved his score by 9 strokes Friday, shooting a field-best 4-under 66 on a day most players struggled in the two-club wind and persistent rain. Johnson made just one bogey, on No. 16, that he got back by closing out his round with a birdie on the last.
Toss that card
Justin Thomas: A 67 in Thursday’s opening round put JT into contention. Then the sun rose Friday. After starting with a double bogey, Thomas twice swung at a ball that didn’t move out of the high grass on the sixth hole. On the third try, Thomas didn’t see where the ball went, leading to a penalty stroke and a drop. His seventh shot went onto the green —and he two-putted for a 9. Thomas finished with an 80 and missed the cut.
On the course with …
Sergio Garcia: After taking a shot from the rough on the fourth hole, Garcia looked behind him and swung his club into the shrubs. He grabbed his shoulder immediately with his left hand and grimaced with pain. He made bogey and said later, “I almost screwed up my British Open.” Garcia played the 14 holes after his club rage in 1 under and is 2 over for the championship.
British Open moment
In front of at least 100 members of “Alfie’s Army” — wearing orange shirts and holding signs of potted plants — 25-year-old Englishman Alfie Plant closed out a 73 on Friday to some of the loudest roars on the course. It secured his spot as the only amateur player to make the weekend, guaranteeing him the silver medal for low amateur. It also keeps alive the horticulture run at Birkdale; Justin Rose was low amateur there in 1998 and Chris Wood in 2008.
• Defending champion Henrik Stenson played hours after his rented home near Birkdale was burglarized, with thieves taking valuables and his planned wardrobe for the rest of the tournament.
• Phil Mickelson shot a 77 and missed the cut at 10 over. It’s his first missed cut of the year, and his first tournament without longtime caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay.
• Eight players broke par Friday after 39 players finished in red numbers in Round 1.
• Chris Wood’s eagle at No. 18 was the first in British Open competition at Royal Birkdale.
Par-5, 542-yard No. 15: On a demanding day of golf, it played nearly a half-stroke under par. Leader Jordan Spieth came out of the rough with his second shot, then made an 18-footer for eagle.
Quote of the day
“A windless day and sunshine, everyone is going to have a chance to play well. When you get a day like this, half the field is gone already — they’ve mentally checked out.”
— John Wood, Matt Kuchar’s caddie.
Tweet of the day
“ Spieth and [caddie Michael] Greller are getting soaked by rain, whipped by wind & are just laughing off shots as Spieth tucks another one close. #GoodDaySir”
— Golf.com writer Sean Zak (@Sean_Zak)
Calmer conditions are in the forecast — but can anyone catch Spieth on moving day? Golf Channel began coverage at 3:30 a.m.