Tag:open friday
Posted on: June 17, 2011 8:12 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 8:14 pm

Congressional cut to collect heavy hitters

BETHESDA, Md. -- Some big drawing cards were packing their bags at the U.S. Open on Friday, even on a Congressional Country Club course that was pretty receptive to good play.

The cut, which included the lowest 60 players plus ties, was projected at 4 over when play was suspended because of darkness 8:05 p.m. ET.

Among those who won't play on the weekend were three members of the Golf Boyz, a foursome of American players who recorded and released a song and spoof video this week of them rapping goofing off in colorful attire: Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan. The fourth guy in the group, Bubba Watson, birdied the difficult 18th to claw his way to 4 over.

Only one player from the top 10 won't make the weekend, world No. 10 Paul Casey, who has been sputtering lately.

Others getting the early boot include No. 13 Ian Poulter, No. 14 Nick Watney, No. 16 K.J. Choi and No. 19 Jim Furyk. Choi had won a tournament at Congressional in the past and Furyk's caddie is a club member.

Further down the world raking, Ernie Els, Justin Rose, Stewart Cink and Adam Scott were also at 5 over or higher when play was suspended. Scott was using Tiger Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, this week.

Cink, who was T10 after the first round, missed a four-footer on the 18th to shoot 77, missing the projected cut by a stroke.

Category: Golf
Tags: cut, open friday
Posted on: June 17, 2011 7:30 pm

Rory story includes plenty of shredded records

BETHESDA, Md. -- It's quite a rewrite, to say the least.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy is a scintillating 11-under par after two rounds of the U.S. Open and already has reached some milestones that no other players have broached in the tournament's panoramic, 111-year history.

It was a momentus Friday at Congressional Country Club. Here's a list of what McIlroy already has accomplished after rounds of 65 and 66:

* His 36-hole total of 11-under 131 is a new record for the lowest U.S. Open score at the halfway point. The previous record was 132, set by Ricky Barnes in 2009 at Bethpage Black.

* The 11-under total is also the lowest number in relation to par after 36 holes, by a whopping three strokes. Barnes and Tiger Woods (Pebble Beach, 2000) were 8 under through 36 holes.

* McIlroy moved to 13 under for the tournament with a birdie on the 17th hole Friday, the lowest in red numbers any player has reached in Open history. Woods and Gil Morgan each had climbed to 12 under at some point at previous Opens.

* He joined Jim Furyk, Morgan, Woods and Barnes as the only players ever to reach double figures under par at the national championship.

* When McIlroy eagled the eighth hole from 114 yards with a wedge, he reached 10-under par in a span of only 26 holes. No player had ever reached double figures under par faster. The previous mark set by Morgan, who required 39 holes.

* McIlroy finished the second round with a six-shot lead over Y.E. Yang, equaling the 36-hole record previously set in 2000 by Woods.

Category: Golf
Posted on: June 17, 2011 5:19 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 5:23 pm

Cantlay can play -- and he proves it at Open

BETHESDA, Md. -- He's already the top player in the NCAA ranks.

On Friday, he accomplished something that precious few amateurs have ever done.

Yet 19-year-old Patrick Cantlay is resolute -- he will not be turning pro until after he graduates with a degree in three years.

Cantlay shot a 4-under 67 in the second round at Congressional, the fifth-best round in Open history by an amateur, which assured him of playing on the weekend.

Cantlay, who has hardly been slowed by an incredibly hectic schedule heading into the Open, looked as cool and collected as any of the professionals in his first major appearance. Not bad for a kid who just finished his freshman year at UCLA.

"Not quite feeling that way inside," he said. "But yeah, for the most part, I felt calm and comfortable out there."

Over the past 11 days, Cantlay has played golf in Oklahoma (at the NCAA finals), Ohio (Open sectional qualifier), Connecticut (Palmer Cup matches against U.K. team) and the District of Columbia.

While in Columbus, he also received the Jack Nicklaus Award as college player of the year. All that said, he didn't have many expectations entering this week.

"I'm just going to try and play the golf course as best I can. It's a great experience," he said. "It's a lot of fun, and I'm just going to try and learn from the other guys and learn from the experience.

"I had some confidence before I came here this week, but yeah, it definitely it makes you feel good about the future, and hopefully one day I can be playing as a pro."

It took a nanosecond before he was asked what his future plans will entail. He didn't hesitate, either.

"To graduate," he said.

Category: Golf
Posted on: June 17, 2011 4:40 pm

Rock rolls with the punches at Congressional

BETHESDA, Md. -- His name sounds like something from an old Flintstones cartoon.

You know, the show that gave us cartoon actors named Cary Granite, Ann-Margrock, Stoney Curtis.

But even the Flintstones never had a script this outlandish.

Journeyman English pro Robert Rock didn't arrive at the U.S. Open site until 3:30 a.m. ET on the morning of the first round, yet finds himself inside the top 10 after 36 holes on a course he had seen "only on TV."

Rock won a European Tour event last week in Italy and made the Open field in an earlier sectional qualifier in the U.K. According to news reports overseas, his visa was held up because of a drunk-driving violation years ago that he listed on his travel application.

He hired attorneys to help speed along the process, but didn't get clearance to fly to the States until Tuesday. He landed in Newark on Wednesday night and hired a car for the drive to suburban Washington, D.C., arriving at his hotel well past midnight.

Obviously, that meant no practice rounds on an Open venue that has been downright punitive in the two previous Opens it has hosted. Not to worry, Rock shot 70-71 and wass tied for eighth when play was suspended Friday because of poor weather.

"I ran out of energy after nine holes to be honest," he said Friday. "I played well on the front nine but didn’t get much out of it. I didn’t really hole any putts today but I played well.

"I took three [putts] from the edge on 18, which was disappointing, and I felt every bit of energy disappear, and I thought it was going to be a battle after that," he said. "That nine was very scorable, too, so it was a shame.

"I couldn’t get the shots to go normal distances. I just didn’t have it in me. I was trying to play cautiously and just plodded it around. It was a shame. But that happens when you have the build up I’ve had, this week and last week. Last week took a bit out of me."

Winning will do that to you. As will last-minute travel upheaval. late nights and uncertainty.

Rock said he went to bed at 9 p.m. ET after the first round in an attempt to catch up on some shut-eye.

"When I woke up this morning I felt OK, but not with a full day energy there," he said. "So I’m going to rest this afternoon and hopefully have some more for tomorrow."

Category: Golf
Posted on: June 17, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:46 pm

Johnson believes he's still relevant -- we think

BETHESDA, Md. -- Zach Johnson has a major title already to his credit, earned a college degree from Drake, and can be one of the best interviews in golf when he is interested and engaged.

That said, I have no idea what he was talking about after shooting 69 on Friday at the 111st U.S. Open.

At one point on Friday, Johnson had one of the best rounds of the day in the works and crawled to second place on the leaderboard. Problem was, he was still about nine strokes behind Rory McIlroy, who was shattering the event's 36-hole scoring record at 11 under par.

When asked about the runaway scenario, Johnson seemingly left the reservation for a few moments.

"Well, I think his score becomes relevant when you're talking about the last three or four holes of the golf tournament," he said. "I mean, if I get myself in contention on Sunday, that's when it becomes relevant, and if it's a 15-shot lead, then it's irrelevant. 

"I mean, if it's a handful of shots, you could say it's somewhat relevant. Right now it's completely and utterly irrelevant."

You probably get the gist. McIlroy is lapping the field and worrying about it is essentially pointless.

"The way I look at it, the pressure is off me," Johnson said. "I'm not the one that's supposed to win it right now. I'm not saying I don't want to lead, but I don't know how many shots he's winning by. It's got to be at least seven, right, eight, nine?  You know, that's pretty good.

"Yeah, I'm going to play my game. I can't control the leaderboard. I certainly can't control what Rory is doing or anybody. They're just numbers. It's completely irrelevant."

Category: Golf
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com