As is often the case with the British Open, the weather can change everything.
Jordan Spieth, chomping away on gum while watching one putt after another pour into the center of the cup, worked some bunker magic of his own late in the round to keep his card filled only with birdies and pars for a 5-under 65. Then the 23-year-old Texan delivered a bogey-free performance at Royal Birkdale that he punctuated with a 20-foot birdie on the final hole for a 5-under 65.
Grace pounced on a serene day that was ideal for scoring at Royal Birkdale with a 29 on the front nine. And I thought if I could make a couple more on the back nine, then it's going to be a great score. "And I needed to - that's the disappointing thing".
However, he pulled an iron off the tee into a fairway pot bunker and a poor splash-out left his ball on the lip of the next trap, from where he tugged his third into the greenside rough and took three more to get down. McIlroy also shot 71 and was relieved. After an very bad start to the tournament on Thursday, when he played the first six holes in 5 over par, he rebounded to shoot 71.
Koepka mixed six birdies with four bogeys in an inconsistent round, while Connelly - the world number 524 - benefited from a birdie, eagle start and also finished in style with back-to-back gains.
A year after pushing Henrik Stenson all the way in a dramatic climax to the British Open at Troon, Phil Mickelson failed to make the cut after a disastrous two rounds.
But Grace was far from the only one who produced roars that whistled through the dunes.
But he did, sinking a 2-footer on the final hole to break the former mark of 63 held by several players. "It looked awfully challenging", Kuchar said. "Getting clapped on to every green and every tee and people that you know". After bouncing back with a birdie at the ninth, there was a crippling double-bogey at the 10th. Hoffman shot 69 and was in a group that included Ian Poulter and Rafa Cabrera Bello. I've believed when I turned professional that I was going to rise and be able to play with the best in the world.
"[But] I definitely feel like today was an opportunity lost to get right in the mix". His approach to No. 8 was short of the green and another loose pitch, to 12 feet, cost him another shot.
Brooks Koepka is another two shots back.
I am not a chewing gum expert, nor am I a professional golfer, so take this take with a giant pinch of salt: But chewing the same piece of gum for like, six hours is kind of odd, right?
"That was awesome", were his next words to his caddie.
After those two is a four-way tie for seventh at -7. It was his best start in a major since he shot 66 at the Masters a year ago.
"I give myself a B grade today", Spieth said. Every other player will be out there competing at Birkdale on Sunday and only three of the top 10 (Connelly, Grace and Chan Kim) are outside that lofty position.
The second round began Friday with a gray sky, cool air, ample wind and a gloomy outlook. Every hole seemed to be a cross wind that did not offer much help.
And around the turn on Thursday, that is just what happened.