Surviving the cut: Day 2 at the U.S. Open
Day one saw the field trying to adjust to the unusual links-style course at Chambers Bay in University Place. The course is nestled up against the Puget Sound in Washington near Tacoma. If you just turn the TV on with no background knowledge of the tournament, you would swear you were watching the British Open. Slow greens but fast hills made for some interesting approach shots and putts on Day 1. Some played well, others did not. Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson finished Day 1 tied for the lead at five-under.
The talk of Day 1 among the players themselves was the course. You had the normal golf story lines of the leaders Stenson and Johnson leading the field at five-under. You had Phil shooting a one-under, amateur Brian Campbell shooting a three-under and of course Tiger going ten-over par in round one. But as I said before, the talk of the day was the unusual course with its links-style feel, uneven fescue grass greens, pacific northwest winds and oh yeah…a train.
The majority of the low scores came in the morning session as the ground was moist and the greens were slower. The wind picked up in the afternoon and the greens dried out and became faster. The speed of the greens vary from hole to hole and the course will play differently depending on what time of day your playing. This is a lot more typical for a British Open course, not a U.S. Open. It has some of the guys frustrated and even taking their frustrations to Twitter. Sergio Garcia shot an even-par round on Thursday but had this to say on Twitter after his round,
“I think a championship of the caliber of
@usopengolf deserves better quality green surfaces that we have this week but maybe I’m wrong!”
Colin Montgomery also had negative marks on his comment card about Chambers Bay saying,
“The green surfaces are very poor, some poorer than others. I’m not trying to be controversial, No one is going to putt consistently well on these greens.”
So while the talk of the day was the golfers adjusting to this golf course that is only eight years old, you still had a major golf event going on and scores were not all that terrible on Thursday. Stenson and Johnson were the leaders at five-under, Patrick Reed was four-under, Matt Kuchar, Ben Martin and the amateur Brian Campbell were all three-under. Cody Gribble, Francesco Molinari, Jason Dufner and Marc Warren were all two-under par in the first round. The winner of the 115th U.S. Open is most likely to be from that group players. But as Jack Nicklaus once said, “You can’t win a tournament on the first two days, but you can lose it.”.
So we move on to Day 2 at Chambers Bay and those who played in the better conditions of the morning on Thursday, now have to endure the challenges that the afternoon bring. Many were expecting some of those low scores from Thursday morning to flip-flop on Friday afternoon. The morning session was once again favorable as there were nine players that shot at least two-under par. The weather was also favorable on Friday with clear skies and a steady breeze. And that beautiful weather is supposed to continue for those lucky enough to make the cut. Saturday and Sunday should be a lot like Friday, clear skies with temperatures in the mid 70’s.
Friday saw plenty of drama as Dustin Johnson stayed around the top of the leaderboard, despite bogeying the last two holes, while Henrik Stenson fell back, Jordan Spieth climbed into the lead and Patrick Reed claimed a share of it. We also had Jason Day finish his round with an even-par score but collapsed on the ninth hole with what is being diagnosed as vertigo. He was treated at a local hospital after his round. He will make the cut with a two-under score and plans to finish the tournament. And then there was Tiger Woods. He completed his weekend early and finished with his worst ever score in 36 holes. He finished at 16-over par for the tournament. That is very, very close to dead last.
Tiger wasn’t the only notable name to not make the cut at Chambers Bay. A few other players that are on their way home are: Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, and defending U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer. Now, some of the guys who will play through the weekend but have to pack a lot of boxes on moving day are: Rory McIlroy (+4), Phil Mickelson (+3), and Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and Ernie Els are all at +2. We appear to be heading for a great finish at the 115th U.S. Open.
Here is a look at the leaderboard heading into Saturday at the 115th U.S. Open from Chambers Bay…
Who do you think will emerge as the winner of this years U.S. Open from Chambers Bay? Leave your comments below.
Brandon covers golf for MyFantasySportsTalk.com, you can follow him on Twitter @New_Breid