Very few things make a professional golfer stew more than a bad finishing hole.
In the case of Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, it came on the seventh hole late in his third round Saturday afternoon of the 116th U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club.
Putting together one of his best Open rounds in years — he sat at 3 under through 15 holes — Moore finished with a double bogey at No. 7 right when the horn blew to suspend play due to darkness.
Moore will be on the tee at 7 a.m. local time Sunday to play the long par-3 eighth, trying to finish his first under-par round at the national open since a second-round 68 at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014.
“I finally did something good, and then I ruined it,” Moore said Saturday outside the locker room
On the more difficult side — the front nine — Moore hit a 9-iron approach just left of the hole at No. 3 for a short birdie putt, which he made.
And three holes later, he blasted a 6-iron tee shot at the 202-yard par-3 that nested pin high, but on a flat level just right of the hole.
He rolled in the 18-footer for birdie to get to 3 under, and just outside the top 20 on the leaderboard.
Moore was in the first cut of right rough at No. 7, but left his approach shot in the right greenside bunker.
He had very little angle to a short pin, so he tried playing his third shot along a sideboard, hoping the ball would roll up into the left fringe, and come darting back at the hole.
“Caught it a little too clean,” he said, “and hit it too far.”
His golf ball rolled into the deep rough. He hacked out, but the ball trickled
12 feet by. He missed the bogey putt.
There is still plenty at stake for Moore over these final 20 holes as he sits tied for 35th: A high finish would get him into the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks.
“I am encouraged by plenty of the other stuff, but to do all that good stuff, and waste it on one hole, there is just no point to it,” Moore said.
Some big names exit
With a closing double-bogey, his second over his final nine holes in the weather-delayed second round, Rory McIlroy, the four-time major champion from Northern Ireland, shot a 1-over-par 71 for a 36-hole total of 148, missing the Open cut by two shots.
Oakmont, with its ruinous rough and marble-top greens, had beaten him.
And McIlroy was not alone. When the third round finally got underway late Saturday afternoon, a logjam was likely taking place at the private jet terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport.
Among those joining McIlroy in making a premature exit from Oakmont were five-time major champion Phil Mickelson (147), world No. 5 Rickie Fowler (151) and 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose (148).
Henrik Stenson, the world’s seventh-ranked player, avoided the ignominy of a missed cut by withdrawing, rather than returning Saturday morning to finish an ugly, rain-delayed second round in which he was 10 over through 16 holes.
Though McIlroy and his fellow victims of the cut line might argue differently, Oakmont actually played as easy as it ever will in a U.S. Open over the first two storm-interrupted rounds.
The telling statistic: Ten players made it through 36 holes under par. In 2007, the last time the Open was held at Oakmont, there wasn’t a single player
under par at the midway point.
Starting his second round on the back side, McIlroy birdied Nos. 10, 12, 14 and 16, making the turn in 31. But the second nine holes, and those
double bogeys, doomed him.
At various times on his final nine, McIlroy was betrayed by both his swing and his putting stroke. His first double-bogey came at the par-4 third hole, when he four-putted from 13 feet.
The Washington Post contributed to this report.