The biggest story coming out of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay is that Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, 2014 Ryder Cup partners, are tied for the lead. So two of the biggest of the “Young Guns” in the game today will go head to head on Saturday.
The cut was low 60 and ties at 5-over with 76 making it through. Given how hard Chambers Bay is turning out to be, it’s pretty remarkable that the last players in shot just 5-over. With some of the carnage we witnessed over these first two days you’d have thought it might have been higher.
We’ve witnessed an unending stream of players trying to extricate themselves from impossible lies in the bunkers, mounding on the greens that gave putts a look more like a DNA double helix rather than a ball running on a aesthetic line to the hole. We’ve had shots whose only hope was playing a bank shot off greenside banking and two notables calling the green complexes “Mickey Mouse” and like “putting on broccoli” because the fast growing poa annua rendered their surfaces uneven.
It’s hard to know how far back a player can be going into the weekend and still have a chance to win. J.B. Holmes and Louis Oosthuizen shot the low round of the day, 4-under. And three players shot 3-under, Spieth, Branden Grace and Daniel Summerhays. Six players shot 2-under. So not real explosive numbers, not that you’d expect that in a U.S. Open.
Tony Finau is in the second to last group and is interesting because he hits the ball such prodigious distances. A Big Break alum from the Golf Channel’s long running series, he dominated his show and won it. It seemed like the PGA Tour was just right around the corner. But he ended up playing just 8 events in Canada in 2013 and a consolidating year on the Web.com Tour in 2014 that won him his card by finishing 12th on the Priority List. With $1.3 million in earnings this year, it looks like he has the necessary discipline in his game.
Ben Martin is a tidy player out of Clemson. He first won his PGA Tour card for 2011 by finishing T2 in the old Q-School but wasn’t able to keep it. He paid his dues on the Web.com Tour for two years, earning his card back for this year with a 10th on the Priority List. His missed the cut in his first tournament and won the second in Las Vegas locking up his card for two years. Go figure.
Plus we have the usual suspects in Dustin Johnson, J.B. Holmes (both long hitters), Jason Day if his vertigo episode is a passing problem, Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar and Jason Dufner to name those with a chance. Kuchar and Dufner are five back.
So we shouldn’t lack for interesting storylines and players to root for.
The entire broadcast is on the Fox Network beginning at 2 PM Eastern and running for eight hours. Friday’s broadcast went an hour over, so be sure to add extra time if you plan to record it.