SOUTHPORT, England Except for a couple of lost ball penalties, Mike Weir would find himself right in the thick of things at the halfway point of the British Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
For the second straight day, Weir had to take a two-stroke penalty on the back nine for a lost ball and it cost him dearly. He made triple bogey, followed that with a bogey and just missed birdie tries on the final two holes.
So instead of being in the top 10 after 36 holes, Weir finds himself in a tie for 38th place.
"It's disappointing," Weir said afterward as he spoke to four journalists from Canada and one from Utah. "I would be right there except for the two lost balls."
The Draper resident was two shots off the lead after the first round but by the time of his midafternoon tee time Friday, he was just one shot off the lead in a tie for second.
He stayed close to the lead most of the afternoon with two bogeys and a birdie that left him at 2-over par. However, a triple-bogey 8 at the par-5 15th hole doomed him and sent him spiraling down the leaderboard.
Weir finished with a 6-over-par 76 for a 147 total and is behind 37 other golfers heading into today's third round. He felt a bit snakebit after playing pretty well all day and having several putts just miss.
"I hit a lot of great shots out there," he said. "When you play well all day and hit most of the fairways and most of the greens and then you make one bad shot and make an eight, it's unfortunate."
Weir had watched the Open on TV for most of the morning and by the time he started his round, Weir had moved up the leaderboard into a tie for second place, a shot behind Greg Norman and in a tie with Camilo Villegas at 1-over.
He fell out of the top three when he bogeyed the par-4 second hole after hooking his tee shot into some tall grass. From there, he had to hit short of the green and couldn't get up and down, missing a 10-footer for par.
Weir dropped another stroke at the 499-yard, par-4 No. 6 hole, which has been ranked as the most difficult hole so far in the tournament.
After making the turn at 2-over par, Weir finally made his first birdie of the day at the par-3 12th hole when his 12-foot uphill putt hung on the lip for a couple of seconds before falling, causing Weir to break out in a big grin.
But at the par-5 15th he hit his drive into a pot bunker and had to chip out sideways. Feeling he needed to get to the green in three, he hit a 3-wood, but hooked it into some thick gorse on the right of the fairway and the ball couldn't be found.
"I overdrew it and it ended up in the gorse over there lost ball."
At 16, Weir's approach fell into another pot bunker and he just missed a par putt. Then he missed birdie putts inside 10 feet at 17 and 18.
"That putt on 17 should never go right I watched it on TV this morning, but (mine) went right. On 18 I watched them all day break right of center and then mine stays on the left lip," Weir said in frustration.
With Tiger Woods not playing in the tournament, Weir, like a lot of players, feels the tournament is there for the taking and he isn't counting himself out yet.
"If I shoot a good round tomorrow I can be right back in this thing," he said.
Weir has had an up-and-down season, finishing in a tie for second at the Memorial in late May, but then missing the cut at the AT&T earlier this month. His only other tournament this summer was the U.S. Open in June.Weir's best finish came last year at Carnoustie when he tied for eighth place, four shots behind winner Padraig Harrington. This marks the eighth time in 10 British Open apperances that Weir has made the cut.
E-mail: [email protected]