SOUTHPORT, England -- The cut mark was always going to be a major factor Friday at Royal Birkdale, but few had quite the relationship with it as Jason Day.
The Australian had put himself on the verge of contending late Thursday with a fine finish but conspired against himself in wild fashion Friday, playing the last three holes in 6-6-6 to throw himself over the projected cut mark.
If that wasn't bad enough, Day played arguably the worst shot of the tournament so far on the 18th. To the left of the green and with a pot bunker in front of him, Day stepped away from his ball multiple times before doing what all club golfers fear -- chunking his pitch into the bunker.
From there, it was an almost inevitable double-bogey to leave him at 5-over, with the cut at that point at 4-over. Day was going home -- or so it seemed.
Then came the rain, wind, a weather warning and a 10-minute suspension of play for the afternoon starters, and the cut mark rose to include Day on the number.
Three more Australians -- Aaron Baddeley, Marc Leishman and Scott Hend -- also survived on 5-over, but it was the English contingent that rode their luck the most, with six players from the host nation going through on the cut line: Andy Sullivan, Toby Tree, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Danny Willett.
Less fortunate were Indian pair Shiv Kapur and Anirban Lahiri, who both finished on 6-over. It was arguably most frustrating for Lahiri, who bogeyed the last in perhaps the worst conditions of the day to miss out.
-- Steven Saunders
Child's play for Poulter and Daly Jr.
It has been a good week for 41-year-old Ian Poulter and a great one for his 13-year-old son Luke. The youngster spent the practice round telling his dad what club to hit and the first round commentating on BBC Radio, and last night there was a match of his own.
"He actually went out to play golf with John Daly's lad last night," explained his father late Friday. "There was a little eight-hole matchup, and he managed to be successful, so he came home pretty pumped last night.
"Luke was kind of rubbing it in, because he won the £20 note. Poor little John was not best pleased."
Did Dad have any idea who he may have got that attitude from? "I'm not sure," he laughed. "Must be his mother."
-- Matt Cooper
Temper tantrum almost costs Garcia dearly
Sergio Garcia admitted that his bad-tempered thrash at a bush on the sixth hole in his second round very nearly cost him further involvement in the championship.
"It felt really bad when I did it, and I thought I was done for," he said after posting a second-round 69 for a 2-over 36-hole total of 142.
The incident came about when he executed a poor shot and then angrily swiped at the foliage with his club, jarring his shoulder in the process.
"It didn't feel right, but the shoulder felt better as the round went on," he reported. "Now we will see if we can have a really good weekend."
-- Matt Cooper
O'Hair aces it
We had the tournament's first hole in one ...
FIND THE ONE! Sean O'Hair makes the first ace in competition at this year's Open Championship at the 168 yard par three 12th hole!
Without it, O'Hair would have been going home. He finished the day as another on 5-over.
O'Meara gets even with Birkdale
Mark O'Meara couldn't have started his final Open Championship appearance any worse. He also couldn't have finished it much better.
On Thursday, after a wild 8 on the first hole caused by the very first tee shot of the tournament, O'Meara would have been forgiven for getting mad. Instead, he got even, literally.
A level-par round of 70 was bettered by only four players on Friday as the 60-year-old used every ounce of his experience, which includes winning on this course in 1998.
"This is the greatest championship," said O'Meara after his round. "I felt the warmth of the crowd coming up the 18th hole. I'm not Tom Watson, I'm not Jack Nicklaus, I'm not Arnold Palmer. I'm just a guy who in '98 was lucky to win the championship and hoist the Claret Jug.
"Obviously I knew after four or five holes yesterday that the cut was going to be out of the equation. I hit some better shots today, I really did. Did I hit it great? No. But if I had hit it really good [Thursday] I would be playing on the weekend."
-- Steven Saunders