It is not a scenario to savour at the 2012 Open Championship, but as the early starters came down the closing stretch this morning at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s, a pair of popular past Open champions were scrapping away to avoid finishing the day at the very bottom of the leaderboard, Americans Tom Watson and John Daly.

Watson, 62, is arguably the greatest Open Championship golfer of all time, having won the Claret Jug five times and on five different Open golf courses, in 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982 and lastly in 1983. Compatriot Daly, 46, won the 1995 Open at St. Andrews. Watson was in the second group this morning, playing with England’s Lee Westwood, while Daly was next out with fellow American Chad Campbell.

Eventually, the job of getting the final round underway tomorrow morning looks to be heading Daly’s way, after score of 77, seven over par, saw him finish on 10 over par for 54 holes and a shot below Watson, who shot 76 today. It is a dubious reward for a golfer who at least made the halfway cut, unlike the 73 golfers who departed Royal Lytham last night.

With 83 golfers having made the cut, it means the last-placed golfer for the weekend rounds needs to lead the field out in the company of a playing marker. The marker is usually a local club professional brought in to make up a pair, and this morning’s first player out, Dutchman Joost Luiten, played with Tim Rich, one of the professionals working out of the pro shop at Royal Lytham.

It is likely to be a colleague of Rich’s from the pro shop who will get the chance to play in the final round of the Open Championship tomorrow morning with Daly.

That is as long as Daly does not withdraw. You never know what is going to happen next with the unpredictable yet likeable American, who made swift exit from Royal Lytham this morning without talking to the media.

Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, patron of the 2012 Open Championship. The new Mercedes-Benz City Golf App is now available on iTunes.