One of the most remarkable streaks in golf ended when Lydia Ko missed the cut at the British Open today.Ko had finished in the top 10 of a major every year for 10 straight years, a streak that started when she was a 16-year-old amateur.Even during her trophy-less run she still managed to be competitive in the majors, but that has not been the case in 2023, with her missed cut at the British her second in the year’s five majors, and her other results reading tied 57th, tied 33rd and tied 61st.
Ko missed the cut by two shots after two consecutive rounds of two-over 74, with a terrible start to her second round leaving her no chance.Five bogies on her first 10 holes saw Ko sink to seven-over at Walton Heath in England, and four birdies and a bogey in her final eight holes were too late to right the ship.At the top of the leaderboard, there’s a golfer hailing from America’s south and with a passion for hunting who is running away with the British Open thanks to precise driving and a red-hot putter.
Ally Ewing is putting up a good impression of Brian Harman as she goes for a first major title this week.The No 39-ranked Ewing rolled in six birdies in her first 11 holes and shot a six-under 66 today to establish a five-stroke lead after the second round.Ewing is delivering a golfing clinic southwest of London three weeks after Harman did the same four hours north of England at Royal Liverpool in the men’s event to win his first major championship.
Harman was 10-under par after the second round and led by five from a home hope, Tommy Fleetwood. Ewing is on the same score, holds the same lead and is also being chased by a popular English player, with Charley Hull in a three-way tie for second place.“A lot of people, I wouldn’t say they were rooting against him but a lot of people were rooting for other people,” Ewing said. “I can kind of attest to that in some sense. But, yeah, certainly happy with where I am through 36 holes.”
The similarities with Harman don’t end there.
Ewing is from Mississippi, and Harman is from Georgia.And then there’s the hunting — the favoured pursuit of Harman and something which proved to be a fascination for the British media, who labelled him “Brian the Butcher.”
Yes, Ewing confirmed, she also likes to hunt.
“For the most part, my family, my husband and I, we do mostly deer hunting, so venison,” she said. “That’s most of what we do.”
The field will look to hunt down Ewing over the weekend but will need her to slow up. She is tied for the largest 36-hole lead at the British Open since it became a major in 2001.
At one stage today, she held a seven-shot lead and she felt like she was in a trance when making four straight birdies from No 6.“I didn’t really even know until I signed my scorecard that I had four birdies in a row,” Ewing said, “so I would probably say that stretch from No 6 to No 11 is a little bit of a blur.”
There was another birdie at No 16 before a bogey at the last, after her worst swing of the day on the 18th tee, gave her rivals some hope. Ewing was at 10-under.
The biggest names in women’s golf can’t keep up.Top-ranked Nelly Korda shot 70 and was one-under, like Rose Zhang, the 20-year-old American sensation in her first year of pro golf who shot 71 in her second round.
Celine Boutier, the Frenchwoman who arrived as the hottest player in the game after back-to-back titles including the Evian Championship, also shot 71 and was two shots further back at one-over.Hull, England’s biggest hope of a home winner, had a bogey-free 68 to join Minami Katsu (69) of South Korea and Andrea Lee (68) of the United States in second place.“I’m happy how I hit it off the tee and holed some long putts,” said Hull, who finished tied for second at the US Open last month, “and I’m buzzing for the next few rounds.”
Alison Lee (69), Hyo Joo Kim (70), Lilia Vu (68) and Gaby Lopez (70) are a stroke further back, while top players Jin Young Ko, Atthaya Thitikul, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka and Allisen Corpuz were part of a large group at three-under.