Cut watch – it’s one of my favourite pursuits on Open Friday. And this one is proving particularly intriguing, isn’t it? As the day began with little wind, several players were making significant progress and it was looking likely that somewhere around +5 might end up being the mark.
Sandy Lyle, Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington were among those on 6-over in around 86th place around lunchtime, and their prospects of weekend action seemed unlikely at that stage. But things can change quickly on a parched Open links when the wind gets up, and with the closing stretch playing ever more difficult, these gentleman were able to stop worrying about early hotel check-outs and re-arranged flights hours ago.
6-over currently lies in 51st place, and as the afternoon has worn on, gradually the 7-overs began to breathe a little more easily too. They are now comfortably ‘in’, so the likes of Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner and Fred Couples can all look forward to two more days of being stretched to the very limit round this demanding links. Also now safe is amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick, which brings me nicely on to the final stages of ‘cut watch’.
His only rival for the amateur silver medal is young Jimmy Mullen from Devon, who, having fallen foul of the 13th, 14th and 15th drifted to 8-over, good for 76th spot at the time. Half an hour later, the cut had just drifted to 8-over, leaving Jimmy with a tense fight for survival with two holes to play following a solid par on 16. Can he do it? Fingers crossed, but stories like this are in some ways even more gripping than what’s going on at the top of the leaderboard on Friday night. Come on, Jimmy…