Another birdie for Webb Simpson! He takes advantage of the significantly shorter 17th by sending his tee shot into a greenside bunker, from which he very nearly holes out. He moves into red figures at -1 for the week, and a par up the last will see him sign for a 65.
A decent start for Ryan Fox. The 35-year-old Kiwi has birdied 1 and 4 to move to -2 for the tournament. Fox has no record in the majors to speak of, but if he can just hold his position on the leaderboard for the next 32 holes, a first top-ten finish will be his. Meanwhile the 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed, who has been quiet for some time but has shown flashes of his old self this week, opens with birdie and joins Fox at -2.
Tiger isn’t the only one struggling today, though. Low scores really are at a premium right now, with the vast majority of the early starters currently over par for their rounds. There’s certainly not much in the way of dramatic upward momentum. But a few of the early starters are offering the field some hope. Sebastián Muñoz and Rikuya Hoshino are in with one-under 69s, while Lucas Glover has shot 68. Most strikingly of all, the 2012 US Open champion Webb Simpson is spectacularly bucking the trend; he’s four under for his round today through 16, thanks to a run of birdie-eagle-birdie through holes 12, 13 and 14. The eagle, on the second par five, was the result of a hole out from 80 yards. So, you know, we’ve given the conditions the big one, but it can be done. Simpson is level par for the tournament.
… so having just said all that, Tiger rolls in a 30-foot right-to-left slinger on 15 for his first birdie of the day! He chalks up an imaginary figure one, then allows a cheeky grin of self deprecation spread across his face. He’s +12, and if he can just par his way home, he’ll avoid posting a score in the 80s.
The halfway leader Will Zalatoris was 12 days old when Tiger Woods turned pro in 1996. The living legend has done marvellously well to make the weekend on one-and-a-half legs, but the old bones are creaking a bit in the cold today. Tiger’s played 14 holes so far today, and he’s ten over for his round, the biggest blot on his card a triple-bogey at the par-three 6th, finding water off the tee. He’s +13 right now, and while it’s dispiriting to witness the great man hobbling around, this all helps his recovery as he looks to rebuild and compete seriously at St Andrews for the 150th Open.
Some better news for the low-score-dreaming chasing pack. The PGA have moved up the tee boxes on the par-five 13th and par-four 17th, the holes playing significantly shorter today. The 13th was a mammoth 636 yards yesterday; it’s just 531 now. The 17th meanwhile has been shortened from 370 yards to 296. That should please the ever-entertaining Tyrrell Hatton, who at the start of the week said: “I think the PGA and USGA seem to be in a bit of a fight about who’s got the longest golf course and who’s got the longest par-3. It would be nice if they were a bit more creative with course setup rather than just trying to make it hard through length all the time.” Here’s to them also sorting out the state of the greens, which Hatton also has an opinion on, saying last night: “I mean, we’re playing a major championship, not a monthly medal. You know, they’re bubbling all over the place. It’s so hard to hole putts. So you can hit a great putt and they just don’t look like going in, which is hard to accept when we’re playing in a major championship.” More fireworks later today, maybe!
The first big story of Moving Day? The shift in the weather. It’s a lot cooler today, with temperatures dropping to around 12 or 13 degrees Celsius. A few showers may be a-coming, too. Not only that, the direction of the wind has turned about face; it’s now coming from the north, a breeze of 12 to 18 mph gusting as high as 30, and the course is a different proposition accordingly. Southern Hills got a good old soaking last night, as well, so with less roll out, scoring isn’t expected to be particularly low. Then again, few were loudly predicting scores of 63, 64 and 65 yesterday, even when the wind dropped in the afternoon, so you never know if someone will pull something out of the bag. Let’s see.
It’s Moving Day! Here’s how the top of the leaderboard looked after 36 holes …
-4: Ancer, McIlroy, Riley
-3: Fitzpatrick, Cink
-2: Young, Burns, Smith, Kuchar, Hatton, Kirk, Woodland
-1: Na, Reed, Homa, Wiesberger, Niemann, Gooch
… here’s a selected list of players who missed the cut …
Scottie Scheffler, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Harry Higgs, Daniel Berger, Matthew Wolff, Corey Conners, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Ian Poulter, Branden Grace, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood and former champions John Daly, Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, YE Yang, Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer and Jason Dufner.
… and here are today’s tee times (all BST). It’s on!
1.37 pm: Brian Harman
1.46 pm: Lucas Glover, Sebastian Munoz
1.55 pm: Cam Davis, Rikuya Hoshino
2.04 pm: Patton Kizzire, Hideki Matsuyama
2.13 pm: Maverick McNealy, Luke List
2.22 pm: Keith Mitchell, Charl Schwartzel
2.31 pm: Louis Oosthuizen, Billy Horschel
2.40 pm: Collin Morikawa, Webb Simpson
2.49 pm: Si Woo Kim, Adam Hadwin
2.58 pm: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
3.07 pm: Troy Merritt, Kevin Streelman
3.16 pm: Sepp Straka, Adam Schenk
3.25 pm: Jason Day, Russell Henley
3.34 pm: Justin Harding, Marc Leishman
3.43 pm: Brendan Steele, Laurie Canter
3.52 pm: Thomas Pieters, Francesco Molinari
4.10 pm: Jon Rahm, Kramer Hickok
4.19 pm: Keegan Bradley, Harold Varner III
4.28 pm: Brooks Koepka, Jason Kokrak
4.37 pm: K.H. Kee, Shane Lowry
4.46 pm: Justin Rose, Lanto Griffin
4.55 pm: Denny McCarthy, Jordan Spieth
5.04 pm: Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau
5.13 pm: Aaron Wise, Robert MacIntyre
5.22 pm: Tommy Fleetwood, Lucas Herbert
5.31 pm: Ryan Fox, Rickie Fowler
5.40 pm: Beau Hossler, Tom Hoge
5.49 pm: Adri Arnaus, Viktor Hovland
5.58 pm: Cameron Tringale, Seamus Power
6.07 pm: Patrick Reed, Kevin Na
6.16 pm: Bernd Wiesberger, Max Homa
6.25 pm: Talor Gooch, Joaquin Niemann
6.34 pm: Sam Burns, Gary Woodland
6.43 pm: Cameron Smith, Cameron Young
6.52 pm: Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar
7.10 pm: Stewart Cink, Chris Kirk
7.20 pm: Davis Riley, Matt Fitzpatrick
7.30 pm: Rory McIlroy, Abraham Ancer
7.40 pm: Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson
7.50 pm: Will Zalatoris, Mito Pereira