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Round 2 and moving day at The Open
July 16, 2011 - B.J. Lisko
So with 54 holes in the books at the Open Championship and the weather seemingly getting worse as we go, it appears whoever survives Sunday is going to walk away with the Claret Jug.
You can make a case for anyone that's even par or better.
Darren Clarke appears to have it dialed in at this point, and as a huge fan-favorite in Europe, I doubt there are very many people rooting against him. He hits it low, straight, and has consistently stayed out of trouble. His everyman attitude and relaxed demeanor almost beckons you to pick him as the favorite.
While I would love to see Dustin Johnson get a victory for the United States, his track record in the final round of majors isn't so hot. He's been in this position three out of the last six majors and his average fourth round score is more than 74. That's obviously not going to bode well for him if he repeats the pattern. I think he'll snap out of that funk, but whether it's enough remains to be seen.
Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim are both at even and will need to fire a low number. I said I thought 5-under would win this after the first day, and that would mean shooting 65 for the American duo who are paired together in the final round.
Miguel Angel Jiminez is another fan-favorite, and all of Spain will be pulling for him to win in what would be an obvious tribute to the late, great Seve Ballesteros. He's got the game to do it, but trailing by four must repeat his round 1 performance where he posted a 66.
Keep an eye on Rickie Fowler, too, at 2-under. He might shoot an 80, but he's also still young and naive enough to go fire a sub-par round and vault to the top.
There are a lot of feel-good stories on the first few pages of the leaderboard, so really I'm not rooting against anyone with the exception of Lucas Glover. When he won the U.S. Open a few years back he was so devoid of any emotion it was almost as if someone needed to tell him that he won. I've heard stories to the contrary about his personality off the course, but a little emotion on it would get a lot more fans behind him.
My pick is Darren Clarke. My hope is Miguel Angel Jiminez, and my second hope is Dustin Johnson. Really, any one would be a great story in this edition of the Open.
See you tomorrow.
My picks through 3 rounds: Lee Westwood - missed cut. Sergio Garcia - 4 over. John Daly - missed cut. Luke Donald - missed cut. Tom Watson - 4 over.
This one wasn't my major in terms of picks. But scouting the predictions, I'm in pretty good company. Rory McIlroy didn't pan out for a lot of people. Neither did Matt Kuchar who shot 11-over through two rounds. Golf is tough enough to predict when you have a sense of who is playing well and who isn't, but add the factors of an Open Championship to that mix, and you might as well pull names out of a hat.
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