Stricker alive; Lefty less lucky

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Tim Dahlberg

Steve Stricker kept a per­sonal streak alive by mak­ing the cut at the Bri­tish Open, the 25th ma­jor cham­pi­onship since 2009 that he has played on the week­end.

For­mer cham­pi­ons Phil Mick­el­son and Padraig Har­ring­ton weren’t as for­tu­nate, head­ing home af­ter fail­ing to get in­side the cut line of 5-over-par.

Har­ring­ton came close, barely miss­ing out on hol­ing a chip on the fi­nal hole.

Mick­el­son, mean­while, added a 7-over 77 to the 3over 73 he shot in the first round to fin­ish at 10-over.

“Un­for­tu­nately it’s the first cut I’ve missed this year,” Mick­el­son said. “And I missed it with flair.”

Mick­el­son, with his brother, Tim, on the bag in place of for­mer long­time cad­die Jim Mackay, looked like he might make a run at play­ing on the week­end when he opened with a birdie on the first hole. But a triple-bo­gey 7 on the third hole set him back, and he made four straight bo­geys to open the back nine.

“It’s part of the game,” Mick­el­son said. “I don’t want to put too much stock in it, be­cause I’ve re­ally been hit­ting the ball well and play­ing well. So rather than dwell on two rough days here, I’ll go back home and get ready for these up­com­ing events.”

It was the first cut Mick­el­son has missed all year. He has never gone through an en­tire sea­son with­out miss­ing a cut.

The 50-year-old Stricker, who tied for 16th at the Masters and at the U.S. Open this year, has never won a ma­jor cham­pi­onship. He opened this one with an even-par 70, then added a 2over 72 in blus­tery con­di­tions in the sec­ond round.

Har­ring­ton, who won here the last time the Open was at Royal Birk­dale in 2008, couldn’t be­lieve the chip that would have got­ten him in­side the cut line didn’t go in. He with two 73s.

“It looked like it was go­ing in all right,” he said. “The story of my day.”

Not so Speak­ing Marked stylish. Young tal­ent.

fin­ished

Justin Thomas, who opened with a dou­ble bo­gey, posted a 9 on the sixth hole af­ter an ad­ven­ture in the deep rough.

He tried to hack it out of the rough, but his hands came off the club and the ball stayed there. He tried it again — same thing. On the third try, he didn’t see where it went and couldn’t find the ball, lead­ing to a penalty stroke and a drop.

Thomas shot a 10-over 80 and missed the cut.

Com­pet­i­tive golf hasn’t been lim­ited to Royal Birk­dale this week.

There was a match down the road at Southport & Ains­dale be­tween the 13year-old sons of Ian Poul­ter and John Daly.

Luke Poul­ter reg­is­tered a 1-up vic­tory over Lit­tle John Daly in eight holes.

Span­ish.

Rory McIl­roy was in the mixed zone chat­ting with re­porters about his sec­ond round, while Lee West­wood was only a few feet away talk­ing about his.

McIl­roy sud­denly turned as he heard some­one speak­ing loudly in Span­ish.

“I thought that was Lee speak­ing Span­ish,” he said, laugh­ing at the thought.

It ac­tu­ally was Jon Rahm, a Spa­niard who is flu­ent in English and Span­ish.

im­prove­ment.

Mark O’Meara was em­bar­rassed when he hit the open­ing tee shot of the 146th Bri­tish Open out of bounds on his way to an 11-over 81.

He made up for it with a sec­ond round more be­fit­ting a for­mer cham­pion.

O’Meara, play­ing in his last Open at the age of 60, shot an even-par 70 in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions with a bo­gey on the last hole. It wasn’t enough to make the cut, but it did make him feel bet­ter.

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