Golf: 'Big Four' blown aside at British Open, Oosthuizen and Els fail to make cut

(From left) Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth.
(From left) Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

TROON (Scotland) (REUTERS) - The so-called 'Big Four' of world golf were left trailing in the wake of the leaders for the second day running at the British Open on Friday.

World No. 2 Dustin Johnson (69) and fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy (71) were the best-placed of the quartet on two-under 140, eight adrift of championship pacesetter Phil Mickelson.

Top-ranked Jason Day (70) was 11 shots behind American Mickelson, who shot a 69 for a total of 132, while No. 3 Jordan Spieth (75) just made the cut on four-over 146.

"I just tried to smile, tried to enjoy the fact that you don't play in this often," American Spieth told reporters of the squally showers and wind gusts that made conditions extremely difficult for the players at Royal Troon.

"You wish your score didn't matter when you play in this. You wish this was just a round with your buddies where you go into the clubhouse and have one or seven pints afterwards."

Spieth and McIlroy teed off in the afternoon, when the weather was at its worst, and suggested they were on the wrong side of the draw.

"I feel like I've played very well," said McIlroy. "I kept it together in the conditions.

"Anything around even-par this afternoon was a decent score. It's the Open championship, some draws go your way and some draws don't."

World No. 14 Louis Oosthuizen, 17th-ranked Hideki Matsuyama and No. 27 Shane Lowry were among the high-profile victims of the halfway cut.

Former champions Ernie Els, Justin Leonard, Todd Hamilton, Mark Calcavecchia, John Daly and Ben Curtis also failed to make the weekend.

South African Oosthuizen, who won golf's oldest Major at St Andrews in 2010 and recorded a hole-in-one at the short 14th on Thursday, crashed to a 12-over 83 in the second round.

Lowry did his best, in the driving rain and gusting winds, to get his challenge back on track after a sorry opening 78 but a 71 was not enough.

"I played great," the Irishman told reporters. "I was like (wrestler) Hulk Hogan yesterday and (golfing great) Ben Hogan today."

The cut, at 146, was also too good for American trio Jimmy Walker, Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy, Britons Paul Casey and Matt Fitzpatrick, Dutchman Joost Luiten, Victor Dubuisson of France, Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and New Zealander Danny Lee.