Jason Day has suffered an epic back-nine meltdown to miss the British Open halfway cut for the first time in his stellar career on an overall poor day for the Aussies in the field.
- In the space of five holes, Jason Day goes from 4-under to 2-over to eventually miss the cut with a 3-under 74
- Adam Scott and Marc Leishman also miss the cut
- But Cameron Smith shoots a 5-under 66 to sit just two shots off leaders JB Holmes and Shane Lowry
But lone ranger Cameron Smith has saved Australia from its worst-ever British Open showing after living up to his promise and roaring into contention at Royal Portrush.
A dejected Day emerged from the scorers’ hut in no mood to explain how he collapsed from 4-under par through 12 holes of his second round to 2-over barely an hour later.
Australia’s former world number one had surged into the top 10 with two quick birdies after the turn before totally imploding with four bogeys and a double bogey during a diabolical five-hole stretch from the 13th tee to 17th green.
Despite being resigned to his fate, Day had to wait more than five hours before receiving official confirmation he wouldn’t feature on the weekend after his 3-over 74 meant he missed the cut by a shot.
Last seen in animated discussion with new caddie Steve Williams, Day’s capitulation was as swift as it was stunning.
Looking rock solid, he had only had one bogey in first 30 holes around the Northern Irish links course.
The Open tweet: What a Friday at Royal Portrush ⛳️ Watch all the highlights from an eventful Round 2 of #TheOpen
Day, though, wasn’t Australia’s only major champion and former world number one to miss the cut with Adam Scott also booking an early flight home.
Scott was doomed after opening with a 78 and finished at nine over for the championship after his 73 on Friday.
Scott last missed weekend participation at The Open a decade ago.
“Look, I actually feel like my game is alright. I just misplayed the golf course a little bit, which is surprising because I did my homework,” Scott said.
Smoking hot Smith in contention
While his celebrated countrymen Day, Scott and Marc Leishman all crashed and burned, Smith’s scorching second-round 5-under 66 left him just two strokes behind halfway leaders JB Holmes and Shane Lowry.
The 25-year-old will enter the weekend with a share of fifth place, but without any compatriots to keep him company.
The last time Australia had just one player to make the halfway cut was 60 years ago when five-times champion Peter Thomson was the only Aussie to tee up at Muirfield in 1959.
This year’s six-strong contingent was Australia’s smallest in 49 years and few could have predicted 25-year-old Smith to be the man to carry the flag.
He had missed the cut in three of his previous six events, but said he found something in Detroit, where he tied for 29th in his last US PGA Tour appearance before The Open.
“I was maybe a little too technical with my swing and just went back to trying to see a shot and hit it, which has been nice around here. You have to hit so many different shots,” Smith said after his six-birdie round.
“A few putts went in today, which was nice. Yesterday felt like I played the same or maybe even a touch better with the longer stuff and not quite as many dropped.
“But I was just feeling really good with the putter so I just knew if I gave myself anything inside 20 foot, I’d have a decent look at it.”
The world number 42 is bidding to become the first Australian to win The Open since Greg Norman at Royal St George’s in 1993.