Friday at The Open is the most important day of the third Major of the year. This is day that will determine who plays on the weekend and who goes home. It is a stressful day for all the bubble guys and looking at the leaderboard, one stroke lost could determine your fate. Is it possible to play aggressively conservative?
The key to moving up the leaderboard is to know when to press your advantage and having the confidence to hit the shots you know you must (and can). The coverage of the open has already started and they top golfers made their first move towards playing aggressively conservative.
The leaderboard will look like a yo-yo today as players bounce around the cut line (presently at +2) trying to eek out any advantage possible. Of course I am not at Carnoustie , but my view of what is important was based on what I aw on my The Open app. Regardless, the following three aspects of today’s round will decide who plays or watches on Saturday and Sunday.
In order of importance:
Keeping the ball in play off the tee. Carnoustie is playing short because of the tremendous roll out on the fairways. Watching Sergio Garcia and Bryson DeChambeau hit their ball in the creek on 471 yard, No. 10, a par-4 named South America at first was a bit puzzling. I thought what a rookie error until I realized they both hit their balls 400+ yards. That is a bit crazy but actually highlights the importance of keeping the ball in play. Everyone focuses on staying out of the rough, but understanding the potential hazard of the roll out on the fairway has to be taken into consideration.
Putting. This is an obvious point, but at Carnoustie it is important to understand that sinking a 2 foot putt is just as important hitting a great lag putt to set up for putting success.With only 22 putts on day one, Kevin Kisner demonstrated that putting is one area where playing aggressively conservative will pay off. Today, Rory McIlroy is proving the same thing:
Lastly is course management. Playing to your strengths is critical to success today. Having said that, mentally choosing the proper shot will play an important role to shooting low scores. In some cases, players will have to break their routine in order to set up what comes next. This is basic tenet of golf highlighted by Ben Hogan and continues to be the cornerstone of the great players.
The most important day in any professional golf tournament is day 2. Dubbed ‘Pre-Moving Day’ by yours truly, most players will be feeling the heat at Carnoustie. Especially the bubble guys who need to gain a stroke or two on the field. At the publish time of this article, the player moving forward at -3 was Tom Lewis; the moving backward at +3 was Jimmy Walker. Lewis played himself above the cut line and Walker below. Both will have to finish strong to make it to the weekend.
Do you think pre-moving day is important or not?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!