There are a few places back home that Olympia’s Andres Gonzales would rather play than Oakmont Country Club.
Well, pretty much everywhere.
“I wouldn’t want to be a member and play here every day,” Gonzales said. “It kicks your teeth in on every single shot. There’s not one shot out here where you can kind of take a break or a breather.
“Every single shot you’ve got to really pay attention to and hit the right yardages, and leave yourself in the right position to have good looks.”
That’s what troubled Gonzales the most in two rounds at the 116th U.S. Open — the second Open of his career. He finished Saturday at 11-over-par 151, missing the cut.
“I played solid. I just didn’t get up and down anywhere,” he said. “Which is not good at an (U.S.) Open, because you’re going to miss greens.”
Gonzales entered the second round at 6 over, near the projected cut line, but a litter of bogeys on Nos. 7, 9, 10 and 12 all but removed him from contention. The knockout came on No. 18 — he found the rough twice on the par-4 before two-putting for double bogey.
“I was just grinding, trying to get the best score I could on every hole,” said Gonzales, a Capital High School graduate who lives in Lakewood. “I gave myself some looks; I just didn’t make a ton of putts.”
His next tournament, the Quicken Loans National, is at the site of his first U.S. Open appearance — Congressional Country Club in Maryland. Gonzales said he has 10 tournaments remaining on his schedule for this season.
“I’m going pretty strong the next couple of weeks. I think I have four or five straight (tournaments),” he said. “I’m kind of behind the 8-ball. I’ve got to get some tournaments under my belt that are good finishes.”
Gonzales seeks some top-15 finishes, or even some finishes in the top 10. He has one top-15 finish this year at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in early May.
“I had a few more last year, obviously, because I was able to stay out here. But especially now, I need to start getting some top 10s,” Gonzales said. “Start threatening to win a couple if I have the opportunity.”
If he achieves higher finishes, Gonzales says, the PGA Tour card will come. Gonzales sits at 182nd in the FedEx Cup standings, and he needs to jump into the top 125 before the FedEx Cup playoffs to retain his card.
“The card will come if I play well,” he said. “… I’m not trying to think about the card as much as playing good golf.”