Two and done at the Open
It’s safe to say leader Martin Kaymer’s 10-under total this week at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 is an anomaly. Nearly everybody hasn’t done as well through two rounds, but some fell too far behind.
Major winners like Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Angel Cabrera, Charl Schwartzel and Darren Clarke will not participate the rest of the weekend, casualties of a tough golf course that has only allowed 13 players to shoot under-par scores through two rounds, just over eight percent of the field of 156 players.
“When you set a golf course up, you want good shots to be rewarded. You want poor shots to be penalized.” said USGA President Mike Davis. “I think that’s what you’ve seen.”
Some players struggled mightily. While Kaymer shot matching 65s, Kiyoshi Miyazato shot matching 81s for 22-over. Azuma Yano shot an 83 on Friday to finish 20-over for the first two rounds. After shooting a brilliant 1-over 71 on Thursday, amateur Oliver Goss matched Yano’s 83 on Friday.
More notable names struggled with one thing or another and will go home as a result.
Watson, the 2014 Masters champion, said on Thursday that it was simply a tough golf course that he wasn’t able to do much on.
“The golf course is better than me right now,” he said. “Around here, it’s hard to visualize some of the shots that I want to hit, and so for me it’s difficult. This (course) just happens to be one that doesn’t really fit my eye.”
After a Thursday 76, Watson managed to shoot even-par 70 in round two, but will head home missing out on a chance to win back-to-back majors.
Ken Duke, who finished at 7-over and missed the cut by two strokes, said the course was shorter than players expected, and therefore caused some problems.
“I didn’t think they were going to do that,” he said. “There’s a lot of good players out here and I think with when they shorten it up like they have, it’s difficult. There’s a few holes that they moved up I didn’t think they would and a few holes they left back I thought they would move up and they didn’t. So they have mixed it up.”
A rules infraction cost Hunter Mahan a shot at the weekend. On the 18th fairway, he accidentally hit playing partner Jamie Donaldson’s ball, incurring a two-stroke penalty that put him at 6-over, just one stroke over the cutline.
“It was one of those things I couldn’t explain to you,” he said. “Off the tee, it looked like that’s where my ball should have been and I couldn’t explain to you how it ended up where it did. Just got to pay more attention.”
But his troubles didn’t prohibit Mahan from complimenting the course.
“The course is in great shape,” he said. “The USGA did a great job of setting it up right. It’s right where it should be.”