Brad Faxon was one of only two Americans who tried to play their way into the British Open in qualifying events in Scotland this past weekend. His decision to invest in a plane ride and a week in a pricey hotel likely will now be worth every pound.
Faxon tied the best round of the tournament Friday with a 66 that left him only five shots off the lead at 6-under 138 going into the weekend. He led this tournament at St. Andrews after 36 holes in 1995, but faltered on the weekend and tied for 15th. Faxon and his fellow Rhode Island resident Billy Andrade put on an annual charity event, this year on June 26-27, and the dates conflicted with a British Open qualifier at Canoe Brook in New Jersey on the same days, forcing his trip to Scotland.
"It was never a question that I wasn't going to come over to qualify," Faxon said after his six-birdie, bogey-free round. "If we didn't have the qualifier or our event the same date, I'm not sure I wouldn't have come over here anyway."
Faxon shot 64-69 at the nearby London Links last weekend and earned one of three places from a field of 96 players at the site.
David Toms showed up at the Royal and Ancient offices overlooking the first tee and last green at St. Andrews Friday morning at 6:15 and essentially disqualified himself from the Open after shooting a 74 on Thursday in the opening round.
Toms told R&A officials he thinks he may have hit a moving ball when he tapped in a putt for a double bogey at the 17th hole. Under the rules of golf, he was officially disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard because the penalty for that infraction is two strokes.
"I don't think anyone noticed," an R&A spokesman said. "He called it on himself."
"It was just one of those iffy areas about whether or not a rule was violated and I was the only one who saw it," Toms told the Reuters news service before heading for the airport. "I just felt it was better to disqualify myself."
Wie Amazes Mickelson
Phil Mickelson, who shot 67 to get to 3-under 141 through 36 holes, has been following the exploits of Michelle Wie in the men's U.S. Amateur Public Links championship in Ohio this week and was clearly impressed when he heard she'd won her two first matches before losing in the quarterfinals.
"It's very difficult to put into perspective what Michelle Wie is doing," he said. "Let's say she's a 15-year-old boy playing in men's tournaments and winning these matches, or coming within strokes of missing the cut in a PGA Tour tournament. When I was 17 I couldn't come close to making a cut, and at the time I was doing well in junior golf. I just can't believe any 15-year-old, especially a young girl, could be doing what she's doing. I can't fathom it. It's amazing."