Jul
16
2011
Dustin’s in Final Group Again, Looking for a Finally
By Stephanie Wei under British Open

Thanks for coming!

What a rollercoaster of a day! Which has set up for what should be a thrilling finish tomorrow. Darren Clarke leads by one shot over Dustin Johnson, who last played in the final group at the ’10 PGA Championship — the infamous bunker-not-a-bunker incident.

Let’s hope Johnson avoids any controversial rules infractions!

“Obviously I’ve been in this situation a few times, so I think the more and more you can put yourself in a situation, the more comfortable you get,” said Johnson who has been playing sick all week. “I’m going to be pretty comfortable out there tomorrow because I know what to expect. I know how to approach it. And I know what I do in those situations. So I understand it, and hopefully I can go out tmorrow and play some solid golf like I’ve been doing for a few days.”

DJ has been taking antibiotics for some type of infection and is finally feeling a little better.

He admitted he didn’t picture himself playing in the final group when he arrived in Sandwich. (Neither did we. We liked him for the Masters and the US Open, but the Open? Naw.) His impressive rally on Thursday turned out to rather significant and perhaps make all the difference.

“I was playing pretty well, but you never know, especially coming into a British Open,” said Johnson. “It’s a tough golf course. I had never seen the course when I came here, so I didn’t know how it would suit my game. I didn’t know how it would fit my eye, but after playing the course a few times, I’ve really enjoyed the golf course.

“You know, through 13 holes in the first round I definitely didn’t see myself in the final group on Sunday, but I thought I’ve definitely played well enough to do that.”

Lucas Glover, who held a share of the 36-hole lead, had a dead-cold  putter and shot a disappointing three-over 73. What makes it worse is that he didn’t take advantage of the favorable conditions he had compared to much of the field.

To me, the most impressive rounds today were Tom Watson’s and Rickie Fowler’s. It’s hard not to wonder what Watson would have shot if he had teed off later and played in better conditions. Oh, well. Watson would say that’s just the way it goes.

Clarke, who is probably the home crowd favorite, looked too shaky with his putter today for me to have the confidence in him to seal the deal coming down the stretch.

I don’t think anyone would mind seeing Fowler win, who is tied for third and trails by three shots. It’s just a question of whether he can “draw from past experiences” and close this time.

Thomas Bjorn is the sentimental favorite after his collapse at the ’03 Open on the 16th hole.

Miguel Angel Jimenez is a legend. Enough said. He’s tied for fifth with Glover, four shots off the pace. Just for good measure, here’s the clip of his famous stretching routine again:

Anthony Kim came out of retirement apparently. I mean, when was the last time you remember seeing him on the leaderboard? I was beginning to think his three-handicapper cousin with Rickie-Fowler-like hair was playing for him while AK was living the Entourage life. Well, AK rebounded from a front-nine 38 to fire three-under on the back nine and posted an even-par 70. He’s tied for seventh, along with Phil Mickelson (yep, seriously — I guess his amnesia strategy has worked), Anders Hansen, George Coetzee (who??), Davis Love III (48-years-old!!!) and Martin Kaymer.

Tomorrow’s forecast calls for scattered showers with sunny spells and gusts up to 35mph all day.

Who’s your pick to take the Claret Jug? I’ve got DJ. Because he’s not fully aware that he’s not supposed to win the Open. And his game has been looking sharper as his health has improved with each day.

My second favorite is Jimenez. See above remarks/video.

(AP Photo/Matt Durnham)