U.S. Open report

Dream team? Tiger Woods (from left) Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy finished the first two rounds a combined 13-over par, prompting Dan Jenkins of Golf Digest to refer to them on Twitter as “The Scream Team.”
Dream team? Tiger Woods (from left) Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy finished the first two rounds a combined 13-over par, prompting Dan Jenkins of Golf Digest to refer to them on Twitter as “The Scream Team.”

Furyk suffers major fizzle in home state

ARDMORE, Pa. - Jim Furyk looked forward to playing in the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, near his former hometown of Lancaster, but finished up an abbreviated trip Friday with the worst 36-hole score he’s ever carded in an Open.

Furyk, who was born in West Chester, Pa., shot a second-round 79 to finish two unproductive days at 156, 16-over par, and will miss the 36-hole cut by at least eight strokes when the second round is concluded this morning.

“To come back here is a bummer,” he said. “I played well across the state at Oakmont [in the U.S. Open]. Later in my career, at 43, there’s not going to be another tournament here at Merion through my career.

“Yeah, I wanted to play well but obviously sometimes you press, you try a little too hard. There were a lot of things that went astray in my game.

So I can’t really blame it on one thing. I thought myself around the golf course poorly, I putted poorly, I drove the ball poorly - things you just can’t do at a U.S. Open.”

Furyk hit 13 of 14 fairways Friday but only eight greens in regulation. For the week, he had nine bogeys and four double bogeys.

Tough time

After rain poured down on last Friday and again on Monday, it prompted laments that scores on the softer layout would be the lowest in U.S. Open history, and even the hallowed single-round record score in a major of 63 would be shattered, maybe more than once.

Well, the weather-delayed 113th national championship is almost half complete, and nearly everyone is struggling to break par at the famed East Course, which measures fewer than 7,000 yards.

The rough is brutal. The greens, though receptive, are more difficult to read than most, and some are almost impossible to hit in regulation.

Combine that with the mental wear and tear of an Open and only two players - Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel - from the original field of 156 are under par for two days.

Statistics compiled by the U.S. Golf Association for the first round showed less than one-quarter of the field was able to hit in regulation the greens at the fifth and 18th, both 500-yard par-4’s, and less than 30 percent on the long par-4 sixth. The rough on the 11th hole penalizes any player who nestles a ball in it by .83 strokes.

The course played almost one stroke higher, 75.1675, on Friday than it did on Thursday when the average was 74.3077. Much of that could be attributed to a fresher wind and hole locations that some players felt pushed the envelope.

“We knew they were going to be in [severe] areas but we didn’t think they were going to be as severe as they are,” said Tiger Woods, who matched par-70. “A lot of guys are missing putts and blowing them by the holes because obviously it would be a little more difficult trying to protect par.”

Obviously, Merion is tormenting the contestants, not the other way around.

Good company

Two more Open champions missed the cut. Graeme McDowell (2010 at Pebble Beach) notched seven double bogeys over two days and stood at 153 after a 77 Friday. Angel Cabrera (2007 at Oakmont) shot an 81 for 155.

“It’s that hard, it’s that difficult, it’s that long,” McDowell said. “I’m disappointed, of course. It’s not the way I wanted to play the last couple of days. But this place is very hard.”

The cut figure, which could be 7- or 8-over par, officially will be set at the conclusion of the second round Saturday morning.

When balls collide

In one of the most outrageous scenes ever witnessed in a U.S. Open, Carl Pettersson had to stop in midbackswing on the fifth hole when his ball was struck by another ball coming from the adjacent second fairway.

“Luckily I wasn’t in my downswing because I would have missed the ball,” Pettersson said. “I don’t know what the ruling would have been on that. But it might not have been good. I regripped and hit a decent shot after that.”

Petersson, who was allowed to replace his ball without penalty, said he did not know who hit the shot that struck his ball.

Chip shots

Louis Oosthuizen withdrew from the Open before the second round with an undisclosed injury, the U.S. Golf Association said. Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, opened with a 75. … Former Temple star Geoffrey Sisk was at 2 over for the day and 10-over for the championship through eight holes when play was called.

At a glance

ARDMORE, Pa. - A quick look at the still-to-be-completed second round of the U.S. Open at the 6,996-yard, par-70 Merion Golf Club (all times Central): CLUBHOUSE LEADER First-round leader Phil Mickelson, who shot 72, and Billy Horschel, who shot 67, are tied at the top at 1 under, the only players in the field below par.

CLOSEST PURSUERS Luke Donald (72), Steve Stricker (69) and Justin Rose (69) were at even-par 140.

STILL TO BE DETERMINED Because of rain delays in the opening round, 68 players were still on the course when play was suspended because of darkness.

WHERE’S TIGER? Woods’ 70 left him at 3-over 143, four shots behind the leaders.

NOTABLE Horschel hit all 18 greens in regulation during his round.

TELEVISION Today, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., NBC.

Sports, Pages 24 on 06/15/2013

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