Highlights from the second round at Chambers Bay on Friday during the 115th U.S. Open:
REED IN LEAD, BUT NOT HAPPY
Patrick Reed, a 24-year-old Texan who has never finished in the top 20 at a major, is tied for first place after two rounds of the U.S. Open, And he’s still not pleased with himself.
“I actually felt it was a pretty disappointing round,” Reed said of his 1-under-par 69 Friday afternoon. “To have five or six bogeys, didn't get up and down once, I was zero percent on up-and-downs today.
“I hit the ball in the middle of the green on 18 and have no chance to putt a normal putt and stop near the hole, and have to play Mickey Mouse golf to try to make par, unfortunately (it) is a bad way to end the day. But we're in a good position and we hopefully can have a good weekend and have a chance to win.”
Reed had five pars and eagled the par-4 12th. But he had bogies on Nos. 7, 9, 10, 13, 15 before his bogey on No.18 cost him the outright lead.
He finished 1-under-par for the round but is still thinking about what could have been.
“If you were to tell me last week I'll give you a share of the lead, I would have taken it, for sure,” Reed said. ”But I felt like I hit the ball a lot better than I did today. … I feel like I'll go make a birdie and then give it right away. You can't do that here. If I didn't do that, I would have a four- or five-shot lead.”
SPIETH SHOOTS 67 DESPITE ‘DUMB HOLE’ AT 18
Despite carding a double-bogey on what he described as “a dumb hole today,” Jordan Spieth assembled a second round Friday that vaulted him into a tie for the lead through 36 holes.
Spieth, who blistered Augusta National for a dominant Masters victory in April, made six birdies at Chambers Bay on Friday to finish the day with a 67.
“I struck the ball significantly better with my approach shots,” said Spieth, who shot 2-under 68 on Thursday. “I hit my irons and wedges better today than yesterday. I also putted better today. Still looking for that driver.”
The 21-year-old phenom did take exception with the 18th hole, which played as a par-4 Friday at 514 yards.
Spieth double-bogeyed the hole after hitting his tee-shot into the left fairway bunker, and wound up in a greenside bunker two shots later.
No. 18 played as a par-5 on Thursday.
“I think the hole doesn’t make sense (as a par-4) because you can hit it down the left center of the fairway and still end up in the right bunker in trouble,” Spieth said. “There’s a group of about 10, 12 guys that can fly at 310 yards that have an entirely different hole to play there. For anybody else, you have to hit it in a five or six-yard area.
“… I wasn’t going to hit 3-iron off the tee and then hit 3-wood. So all in all, I thought it was a dumb hole today, but I think we’re going to play it from there again, so I’ve got to get over that.”
DUSTIN JOHNSON 1-SHOT BACK
The difference between Dustin Johnson’s 5-under 65 on Thursday and his 1-over 71 on Friday?
He just didn’t make his putts.
So after 36 holes, the first-round co-leader finds himself at 4-under – one stroke back of new co-leaders Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
“I thought I played pretty well today,” Johnson said. “It (the course) played really difficult. When I got into trouble I felt I hit good shots and got myself out of it and made some good up-and downs. But just didn’t hole the putts that like yesterday. That was pretty much the only difference.”
Johnson was at 6-under after 16 holes, but made bogey on Nos. 17 and 18 to finish his round. He said he was actually happy with the bogey on 18 – playing as a 514-yard par-4 – considering that he hit his tee shot into the bunker on the right side of the fairway.
And he has no problem with his position on the leaderboard heading into the weekend.
“I like where I’m at,” Johnson said. “Still got 36 holes of golf, a lot can happen. (One) back going into tomorrow, that’s fine with me. I like where I’m at.”
STENSON: “IT’S PRETTY MUCH LIKE PUTTING ON BROCCOLI”
Henrik Stenson didn’t leave Chambers Bay after his second round without taking a few shots.
Unlike his opening-round 5-under-par 65 that left him in the co-leader position with Dustin Johnson after Thursday, it was vastly different Friday, which concluded with a 2-over 72 on Friday.
He described some of the greens and pin positions as “borderline laughable.”
“And it’s pretty much like putting on broccoli, as well,” Stenson said.
Stenson had two birdies, including a par-5 No. 1, but did begin his round, starting on the 10th tee, with four consecutive pars.
KUCHAR CALLS CHAMBERS ‘FUN,’ ‘UNIQUE’
Matt Kuchar described Chambers Bay as “fun” and “unique” on Friday after he broke par on the back nine for the second consecutive day.
However, a triple-bogey on the par-4 fourth earlier in the day dropped him to even par for the tournament. It’s right where he said he wanted to be when the tournament started. But he was tied for 17th when he finished with many more golfers than he expected shooting under par.
“I said even par after two rounds would be incredibly good, still awfully good,” Kuchar said. “Still a U.S. Open, still even par, in the Top 20, looking forward to a good weekend. The course is playable. I think they’ve done a good job. It’s getting firmer. Afternoon rounds are much more difficult. I think the USGA is doing an awfully nice job with the setup with the golf course.”
SMITH FEELING GOOD AT PAR
Cameron Smith, a 21-year-old Australian playing in his first major, feels like he’s starting to make a name for himself.
“I get a few, ‘Go, Camerons’ every now and then,” Smith said. “So, yeah, I think so (starting to get recognition).”
A pair of par rounds have him right where he hoped to be heading into the weekend where he says he won’t change his approach.
“Just treat it as another tournament, doing my stuff out on the course,” he said. “I think once you get into the zone it sort of doesn’t really matter anyway.”
TIGER BOMBS OUT AT PLUS-16
Tiger Woods wanted his Friday score to have a five or a six in it.
It did. But not the kind he wanted.
After hacking and flailing through a hideous 10-over 80 during the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday, Woods improved only marginally, carding a 6-over 76 to finish 16-over for the championship.
He missed the cut for just the fifth time in a major.
“I wanted to shoot 5 or 6 today, but I wanted to be on the other side of it,” Woods said after one of the worst major performances of his storied career. “But I hit a little bit better today. But, again, I made nothing today. I didn’t make any putts the first two days; I hit it better today. Hitting some spots where I could hit some putts, (but) I made nothing.”
Woods said this week’s flop won’t impact his schedule for the rest of the summer. His schedule is set, he said, and he’s slated to play every other week.
And try to forget about the nightmare that was Chambers Bay.
“On a golf course like this you get exposed, and you have to be precise and dialed in,” the 14-time major champion said. “And obviously I didn’t have that. Obviously I need to get a little better for the British Open, and I’ll keep working at it.”
MOORE STRUGGLES IN FRONT OF HOMETOWN CROWD
As much as he wanted to, and tried to, feel good coming into a U.S. Open course playing so close to home, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore said he never did get comfortable with Chambers Bay.
“I would be lying if I said I felt great coming into this week,” Moore said. “I tried getting out there, getting a lot of time on the golf course, getting comfortable with it. This course does not set up all that well for me.”
Moore was 4-over in his second round Friday after 5-over Thursday. He was even after the back 9 Friday but had four bogeys on the front 9, including a stretch of three in a row on 3, 4 and 5.
“I hit the ball really low and it is firm and fast, but with all the large slopes in front of the greens, it kind of makes you take it in a little more aerial than a lot of the links courses,” Moore said. “That point I’m flying it to, it’s bouncing and going way past the hole. If I fly it short, it kills it and runs off the green.
“It was tough for me. In the end just didn’t hit good enough golf shots.”
ROSE DERAILED BY ‘DIABOLICAL’ NO. 7
Justin Rose said he believes he’s played well enough to be in contention.
It was a triple bogey on the seventh hole that had him at 2-over 142 after two rounds.
“I think it’s an absolutely diabolical result for – that’s not a good golf hole, let’s just be honest,” the 34-year-old said. “I don’t mind the ball coming back into a bunker, but when it comes back down the bunker on a down slope and you can’t hit a shot because you’ve got fescue grasses hanging over the top and you can’t make a swing – that’s why I tried to hit an inside-the-line, hooky shot. I had no real line of play with the fescue behind me.”
That par-4 hole took Rose from 2-under in his Friday second round to 1-over.
“I knew that would be the hardest hole on the course,” Rose said. “In my practice rounds, I hit some shots in that bunker. I fully knew how difficult that particular part of the golf course is. Shame on me for bringing it into play with my second shot.
“Other than that, I played really, really well for two days.”
MARTIN IN CONTENTION HEADING INTO WEEKEND
For a short while, Ben Martin, who finished tied for sixth at 3-under after 36 holes, was the co-leader of the U.S. Open for … two holes.
But he didn’t notice.
“I’m not really worried about adding them all up until 72 holes,” Martin said.
Sitting at 3-under 67 entering the weekend in a four-way tie for sixth, Martin is excited to be in the position he’s in in his first U.S. Open as a professional, and third overall.
Martin shot an even-par 70 Friday, and was the co-leader briefly for two holes with Jordan Spieth as well as Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson (both had yet to tee off) at 5-under sinking a birdie on a par-3 15.
Outsiders might be talking about Martin in contention, but Martin is focused on enjoying the moment.
“That’s really why I love this game – is to be in contention on Sunday in the back nine, be a little nervous get the adrenaline flowing and just having fun,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes. I’m going to try my best to do that.”
SIEM STRUGGLES AT 16
Hole No. 16 was not kind to German golfer Marcel Siem. He bogied the bunker-line par-4 hole Thursday and Friday and ended up missing the cut.
Friday afternoon his frustration boiled over after he finished the hole. He drop-kicked a club into the greenside bunker. With the club too far enough below his feet to reach, he had to use a rake to fish it out of the bunker.
With the frustration out of his system, he parred the final two holes for his second consecutive 3-over-par 73. He missed the cut by one stroke.
SUMMERHAYS SIZZLES TO 3 UNDER
Daniel Summerhays gave the fans something to truly cheer for on his way to a brief trip tied atop the leaderboard.
“I think it’s fun for them to yell, ‘Summerhays.’ Kind of a fun last name,” he said. “… So I was really soaking it in and enjoying it.”
Summerhays had six birdies, but hurt his scorecard with a double bogey on 7 and a bogey on 10.
The 31-year-old Utah native was one of two Utes at 3-under 137 after Friday alongside Tony Finau. He said he’s got his family with him from Salt Lake City and they are staying in a house for the championship.
“We haven’t damaged anything yet,” Summerhayes said. “Clogged a toilet, but that’s fine. That can be fixed.”
CAMPBELL TOP AMATEUR
On the walk to the 495-yard par-4 No. 4 hole, amateur Brian Campbell glance at the giant electronic leaderboard that sits across the fairway, and saw his name below Jordan Spieth.
“I definitely want a little more of that,” Campbell said. “It was pretty special.”
For three holes during Friday’s second round, the 22-year-old who recently completed his collegiate career at the University of Illinois, was the co-leader at 5-under with the reigning Masters champion, plus Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson, who both shot 5-under 65 in their opening-rounds Thursday.
Campbell sits at 1-under after his 2-over 72 following an opening-round 3-under 67 Thursday, and the low amateur in the field through 36 holes.
Campbell started hot with birdies in two of his first three holes when he sank a 23-foot putt on the 403-yard second hole and then drilled a 20-foot putt on the 207-yard third hole to go 5-under with Spieth.
But just like Thursday, the 508-yard seventh hole troubled him again, resulting in a double-bogey. After his tee shot pulled left, his second shot went into the right bunker, and his fourth shot sailed 50 feet passed the cup. It’s the only hole that’s given him fits through two rounds.
HOSSLER HANGS TOUGH
Only one other golfer has qualified for three U.S. Opens as an amateur like Beau Hossler has.
That would be Jack Nicklaus.
Hossler was on the cusp of the Open cut at 3-over 143 through two rounds Friday.
“Any time you are in company with Jack Nicklaus, I guess you are doing something right,” the 20-year-old said.
After tying for 29th when he was 16 in 2011, he didn’t make the cut in 2012.
“Obviously, it’s nice making it here, but I’m trying to contend,” Hossler said. “That’s the goal. I’ve proven to myself that I can qualify for the event, but I think it’s time I start making a move toward the lead a little bit.”
GRACE’S ROUND BOOSTED BY EAGLE
A pair of friendly eagles has South Africa’s Branden Grace in the thick of the U.S. Open trophy hunt at 4-under par 136.
He thought about chipping, but instead took out the putter and sent the ball 32 yards up a slope, off the back of the flag and into the hole on 8 for eagle.
“If I say yes, then I’m going to lie,” said the 27-year-old Grace. He was the only golfer in the 156-member field to have recorded two eagles through two rounds by the time he finished Friday morning.
“It’s a bit of luck. You can see what the ball is going to do, you can pretty much read it a little bit, but to get the speed right on a put like that is almost impossible.”
Not entirely, apparently.
“That was a big turnaround today,” Grace said.
LUITEN MAKES HIS WAY TO 3 UNDER
Joost Luiten didn’t take the most graceful route to his 3-under-par 137 through two rounds.
He shot 2-under through seven holes Friday before three birdies on the back 9, including back-to-back on 15 and 16.
“It was key to me to stay calm,” said the 29-year-old from the Netherlands. “I thought if I just keep playing my game and give myself the chances that I had on the first nine, then hopefully I can make some birdies. … Luckily they went in on the back nine.”
Luiten ended the second round two stroke off the lead after the morning rounds after not making the cut in his only other U.S. Open appearance last year.
“I managed to play my game, which is normally good iron play,” Luiten said. “And I think that’s why I’m 3-under.”
HOLMES IN GOOD SHAPE
J.B. Holmes, a 33-year-old Kentuckian, can make a run at his first top 10 appearance at a major after a birdie-filled round Friday morning.
“Good round for me,” Holmes said. “I left a few out there. I had a few too many bogeys, but I gave myself a lot of opportunities and I felt like I putted well. I missed a couple short ones, but they’re getting a little crusty out there. Overall it was a good day for me.”
Holmes had six birdies and an eagle Friday, but he tempered his success a bit with four bogeys. His round 4-under-par has him at 2-under for the tournament.
His best finish at a major was a 14th-place finish at the 2010 British Open. He finished 17th at the 2014 U.S. Open.
He likes where he sits heading into the final rounds.
“You definitely want to give yourself a chance on the weekend,” Holmes said. “Hopefully I can go out and play well tomorrow and have a chance on Sunday.”
NEIL PLEASED WITH PERFORMANCE
Bradley Neil means it when he says he’s just happy to be at Chambers Bay. The 19-year-old Scottish amateur shot a 3-over-par 73 Friday, three strokes better than Thursday, and finished 9-over-par.
What’s the biggest thing he’ll take away from his first U.S. Open? “That I played in a U.S. Open,” he said. “Not many people can say they’ve played in three majors by the time they are 19.”
Neil won last year’s British Amateur, which came with automatic entry into three majors. He missed the cut at the 2014 British Open and April’s Masters.
The next step will be turning pro.
“Obviously I made a lot of steps through the age ranks in my short time as a golfer, but this (turning pro) is the biggest step and the most challenging step I’ll take,” he said. “Today’s performance gives me a lot of confidence going into the rest of this year as a pro. I’ve just got to keep working hard. It’s not going to be easy. I know how much work I need to do and I know what I need to work on. It’s going to be fun.”
The most common piece of advice players have given him about turning pro: “don’t change what’s got you here,” Neil said. “Like at the (British) Open last year, Adam Scott said play your game, play the way that got you here. A lot of pros have said don’t make any major changes, just turning pro is a big enough change.”
FINAU FEELING GOOD AT 3 UNDER
Tony Finau is a 25-year-old, but he’s been a pro since age 17.
Finau’s golf odyssey has included several mini-tours, and even a reality TV show appearance on The Golf Channel’s “Big Break” in 2009, before earning his PGA Tour card for the 2014-15 season.
“It’s been quite the journey to get to this point,” Finau said.
The U.S. Open is the Utah native’s first major and after two rounds, he sits 3-under for the championship.
“I feel like, to get to this point in my career, to have these opportunities playing in these big events,” Finau said. “It feels really good.”
After an opening-round 69, Finau totaled six birdies, including two of his final three holes Nos. 7 (par-4) and No. 9 (par-3) to move to 3-under after sitting at 1-under after six on Friday. Another Utah native, Daniel Summerhays, also sits 3-under.
Finau commended his caddie, Greg Bodine, a cousin of local golfer Michael Putnam, who carded an opening-round even-par 70 on Thursday. Finau said he’s been able to lean on Bodine’s experience through 36 holes on the Chambers Bay course.
“The one thing you can’t teach is experience and that’s what my caddie has,” he said.