There may be a four-shot differential between his opening two rounds but Brandon Stone is right where he needs to be at the midway point of The Open, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
It’s been seen countless times before, a player works his way ― usually in spectacular fashion ― into a Major but after the adrenaline is drained the fall is swift and harsh.
Stone held off on that narrative at Carnoustie on Friday to keep his place among the challengers for the 147th playing of The Open. A day which saw Dustin Johnson and established countrymen Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel heaped onto the sidelines, the three-time European Tour winner held firm.
In truth, if this was any other week, any week that followed his heroics from Gullane, then today’s round would be disappointing. He hit 73% of fairways and increased that number to 83% when it comes to greens in regulation, hardly the stats that would tell the story of a +1 round. He did take seven more strokes with the putter but that won’t concern Stone tonight.
He will rest on the comforts of a late tee time, he’s currently just outside the top 10, and in the knowledge that he’s putting as well as he ever has.
Stone will also take confidence from his ability to bounce back, he made birdie on 3rd after dropping a shot on two and a birdie on 14th after two drops in a row before that.
He heads out on Saturday looking to keep up the momentum, maintain his concentration and continue his somewhat fairytale run in Scotland with the Claret Jug not entirely out of the equation.
Photo: Gerry Penny/EPA