HOYLAKE, England — It’s a silly game, isn’t it?
If you had Brian Harman running away with the Claret Jug and four top-20-ranked pros heading home on Friday, well, congratulations.
Royal Liverpool is living up to the hype as a tough, old-school links layout that has stood the test of time. Defending champion Cameron Smith closed with an eagle to jump to 2-over 144 and move to the right side of the cutline — which came at 3-over 145 — and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler needed to produce a sublime bunker shot at 18 to make birdie and make the cut on the number.
Half the fun is over, but half the fun is still to come. The bad weather, which is expected over the weekend, should make whoever is destined to be the Champion Golfer of the Year to have earned the moniker in spades.
Open Championship 2023: Leaderboard, tee times, hole-by-hole
The field has been trimmed to the top 70 and ties, with 76 players advancing to the weekend and within 13 strokes of the lead. Let’s take a closer look at some of the notables who were sent packing from the 151St British Open.
Collin Morikawa (4 over)
Morikawa, the 2021 Champion Golfer of the Year, struggled on the greens, 3-putting twice each day. He shot a pair of 73s and missed the cut for the second straight year at the British Open. Morikawa made too many bogeys – five on Thursday – and too few birdies – none on Friday until No. 15 – and it added up to one stroke too many. It was Morikawa’s sixth missed cut in 21 starts this season.
Keegan Bradley (4 over)
Bradley, No. 16 in the world, missed the cut for the fourth straight time at the British Open. He shot rounds of 70-76—146. Bradley looked to be in good shape to play the weekend until he made three bogeys on the inward nine – at Nos. 12, 14 and 16 – and failed to birdie the par-5 18th when he desperately needed it.
Joaquin Niemann (5 over)
Niemann, the young Chilean golfer who joined LIV last year, was done in on Thursday with a run of five straight bogeys beginning at No. 8 en route to shooting 78. He bounced back with 69 on Friday, but the damage was already done.
Billy Horschel (6 overs)
A dismal major season for Horschel finished with a dud. He shot 73-75—148 and missed the cut at the British Open for the sixth time in nine career starts. Horschel closed in 79 to fall to 52n.d at the Masters, missed the cut at the PGA Championship by one with a double bogey at the last, and finished T-43 at the US Open.
Horschel entered the week at No. 118 in the FedEx Cup and has his work cut out for him if the former FedEx Cup champion is going to qualify for the playoffs.
Tony Finau (6 over)
Finau made three straight bogeys, starting at No. 15, that sealed his fate. He shot 72-75—147. The world no. 16 missed his second straight cut, and it marked the first time in seven attempts that Finau missed the cut at the British Open.
Justin Rose (6 over)
Rose was in a marquee grouping with Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm and failed to keep up with them. He missed his third straight cut and second at a major.
Rose, who gained attention 25 years ago as the low amateur in the British Open (T-4), shot a pair of 73s. He made three early bogeys in a row on Friday, which made the challenge at hand particularly difficult.
Sam Burns (6 overs)
Burns, ranked 17th in the world, still is looking for his first top-10 finish in a major. He’s now 0-for-14 in his young career.
He shot 73-75—148. Burns made a double bogey at the par-5 18thth on Thursday. In the second round, he had too many miscues, making five bogeys and a double bogey at 14.
Burns missed the cut at the PGA Championship, too, and failed to do better than T-29 in any of the four majors.
Shane Lowry (7 overs)
The 2019 British Open champion at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland was sent packing after shooting 72-77—149.
Lowry didn’t make a single bogey on Friday. He had made the cut in 13 of his last 14 starts on the PGA Tour. Nevertheless, Lowry is in danger of missing the FedEx Cup playoffs. He entered the week ranked No. 72 in the season-long standings with only the top 70 moving on to Memphis for the first of three playoff events.
Has it really been a decade since Mickelson was the Champion Golfer of the Year at Muirfield? Mickelson shot rounds of 77-74—151 to miss the cut at the British Open for the fourth straight time and fifth time in his last sixth starts.
Mickelson, who joined LIV last year, was playing decently in the first round when he finished double bogey, triple bogey after finding a couple of Liverpool’s notorious bunkers. He took 33 putts each day, which is not up to his high standard. Mickelson finished T-2 at the Masters, but then T-58 at the PGA Championship and missed the cut at both the US Open and British.
Justin Thomas (11 over)
Thomas blew up on Thursday, making a nine at 18 and shooting 11-over 82, tying for his highest score as a pro. Read more about Thomas and his struggles here.
“I’m trying to look at the big picture. I’m trying not to focus too much on days like yesterday. I’m trying not to dwell on it or just – you never want to do it in any event, but it just sucks when it’s the first round of a major and you have no chance anymore,” Thomas said. “But I mean, everybody has their waves, their kind of momentum and rides and rock bottoms, whatever you want to call it. I just keep telling myself, this is it, I’m coming out of it, and I unfortunately have surprised myself a couple of times with some bad rounds. It doesn’t mean a day’s good play like today doesn’t get a spark going. I don’t know. All I can do is try to be in the frame of mind for it, too.”
Johnson had a miserable second round, shooting a birdie-free 10-over 81. He missed the cut at the British Open for the first time since 2018. Johnson’s major season was nothing to write home about: T-48, T-55, T-10, MC.
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek