Sunday, June 19, 2016

U.S. Open -- Third Round Wrap-Up

Well, Shane Lowry ran off and left everyone this morning.  While most of us were asleep, Lowry put the finishing touches on a 65 that left him four strokes clear of the field.  Of course, there's always a chance that someone will catch him, but the truth is we have seen this pattern several times since Mike Davis started setting up the courses for the U.S. Open.  In 2011, Rory McIlroy had an 8-shot lead after three rounds of the U.S. Open, and rolled to an 8-shot victory.  In 2014, Martin Kaymer had an 5-shot lead after three rounds of the U.S. Open, and he won by 8.  And now it appears to be happening again.  I don't know if there is something about how the Davis sets up the Open courses that leads to these type of results, or whether he's just had bad luck.  To be fair, he's also had some thrillers -- like Justin Rose's win at Merion, or Jordan Spieth's win last year.  But whatever the cause, it is disappointing for those of us who think the National Open should be a competition, not a walkover.

By the way, congrats to Andrew Landry, who has certainly proven me wrong about his chances.  And congrats to the folks at Oakmont, who were just awarded the 2025 U.S. Open.  They will spend the next nine years trying to figure out how to defend par without trees.

I will say one thing -- I don't want to see any stories about how the USGA tried to toughen the course, or weaken the course, in the hopes have creating some drama for the last year.  They had years to get Oakmont ready for this tournament.  If they somehow set it up so that it works for Shane Lowry, but not for anyone else, then it's too late to change now.

1.  S. Lowry (IRE):  -7 (68+70+65=203)

T2.  A. Landry:  -3 (66+71+70=207)
T2.  D. Johnson:  -3 (67+69+71=207)

T4.  L. Westwood (ENG):  -2 (67+72+69=208)
T4.  D. Summerhays:  -2 (74+65+69=208)

6.  B. Grace (RSA):  -1 (73+70+66=209)

T7.  S. Garcia (ESP):  Even (68+70+72=210)
T7.  S. Piercy:  Even (68+70+72=210)

T9.  J. Day (AUS):  +1 (76+69+66=211)
T9.  B. DeChambeau:  +1 (71+70+70=211)
T9.  Z. Johnson:  +1 (71+69+71=211)

48 comments:

  1. For the record, I will be running errands this afternoon, so I will not be doing many updates on the tournament.

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  2. OK, so here's what has happened.

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  3. Not only did Ireland's Shane Lowry take this huge lead while most of us was sleeping, he then lost his lead while most of us were having fried fish and warm banana pudding down at the Father's Day buffet at Pennyrile State Resort Park.

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  4. Lowry of Clara, County Offaly, had a very tense moment on No. 10. He'd just fallen out of the lead. He badly missed a long lag putt right. Then he badly missed a 5- or 6-foot par putt left, leaving himself basically the mirror-image 5- or 6-foot putt for bogey. Lowry marked and took a long time to catch his breath and re-review the landscape of the green. He then drilled the putt for bogey-5 to drop himself to 3-under for the tournament. That's where he remains, through No. 11.

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  5. Andrew Landry of Nederland, Texas, finally fulfilled Go Heath's prophecy, clanking along to a bogey-bogey-par-bogey-double start to his fourth round. The adventure has continued with three more bogeys. Our first-round leader is now 5-over and tied for 17th. Landry is playing No. 12.

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  6. This has left Dustin Johnson of Columbia, South Carolina, as the least scarred thus far by Oakmont. DJ had no bogeys in Round 1, one bogey in Round 2, a double and two bogeys in Round 3, to go along with eight birdies and a whole bunch of pars going into today's final round. His fourth round is producing the tidiest scorecard yet: a birdie at 2, a birdie at 9 and all pars the rest of the way through 13.

    But things could get mighty messy mighty fast. Back on No. 5, DJ's ball wiggled a smidge before a putt. The USGA folk have been going all Zapruder on the tape, trying to figure out what happened with the ball. They've gone so far as to send an envoy out onto the back nine to give Johnson the unsettling news that he might (or might not) be tagged with a penalty stroke after the boys back in the tent rerun the video a few more times. The USGA has alerted the other playing groups on the course, too.

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    1. Someone at the USGA should be fired over this. You know what will not happen tonight at the NBA Finals? They will not go into the last quarter not knowing what the score is.

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  7. And while I've been typing, that dark-bearded Irish stout, Lowry, has bounced back with par-birdie-par at Nos. 11-13; DJ has missed a 5-foot par putt on No. 14, and the Fox TV panel and a bunch of Tweeting golf all-stars are going nuts over the USGA's penalty deliberations.

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  8. Go Heath-style leaderboard (we miss you on the mike, Go Heath!):

    T1. D. Johnson: -4 (68 holes)
    T1. S. Lowry: -4 (67 holes)
    3. S. Piercy: -3 (69 holes)
    T4. J. Furyk: -1 (72 holes)
    T4. J. Day: -1 (70 holes)
    T4. S. Garcia: -1 (69 holes)
    T4. B. Grace: -1 (68 holes)

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  9. Co-leader Lowry rolls a looping, 27-foot birdie try to within about 2 or 3 feet at No. 14.

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  10. No, it was a little longer than that, and Lowry misses the par try short and to the left. DJ is back in the lead alone at 3.5-under, and Lowry is now T2 with Scott Piercy of Las Vegas at 3-under.

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  11. Seven golfers are under par for the tournament. Only one of them, Jim Furyk of West Chester, Pennsylvania, is finished for the weekend. It's looking like one or more of the others will still end up falling back to even or worse.

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  12. Indeed, Sergio Garcia of Borriol, Castellón, Spain, and Jason Day of Beaudesert, Queensland, Australia, have dropped back to even and 1-over, respectively, and we're down to five golfers under par for the tournament.

    If I were Jim Furyk, I think I'd hang out and have a Tab before getting out on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for the four-hour drive home ... just in case.

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  13. And Piercy takes a bogey at No. 16, so he's 2-under for the tournament--in third place, behind second-place Lowry (3-under) and leader Johnson (3.5-under).

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  14. Rory McIlroy ‏@McIlroyRory
    This is ridiculous... No penalty whatsoever for DJ. Let the guy play without this crap in his head. Amateur hour from @USGA
    5:30 PM - 19 Jun 2016

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    1. I agree with this. Again, whoever is responsible for this at the USGA should never be in this position again. And they should change this stupid rule.

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  15. Jordan Spieth @JordanSpieth
    Lemme get this straight.. DJ doesn't address it. It's ruled that he didn't cause it to move. Now you tell him he may have? Now? This a joke?
    5:33 PM - 19 Jun 2016

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  16. Rickie Fowler @RickieFowler
    .@JordanSpieth @McIlroyRory w/ you boys! The fact that the @usga thinks that DJ caused the ball to move is completely ridiculous! Laughable!
    5:40 PM - 19 Jun 2016

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  17. Brandt Snedeker @BrandtSnedeker
    Hey @USGA, it's impossible for DJ to cause the ball to move backwards!!!!!!! #commonsense
    6:20 PM - 19 Jun 2016

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  18. Rory McIlroy ‏@McIlroyRory
    This isn't right for anyone on that golf course. If it was me I wouldn't hit another shot until this farce was rectified.
    6:24 PM - 19 Jun 2016

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    1. Rory is absolutely right. This is, in fact, what the players should have done. Can you imagine the NBA going to LeBron and telling him that Stephen Curry's shot might have been a three-pointer, or his foot might have been on the line, and the NBA will figure it out later?

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  19. David Ramey @davidramey
    I do have to give Fox credit. They haven't blamed this on Obama yet.. #USOpen
    6:24 PM - 19 Jun 2016

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  20. Grace bogeys 16, and we're down to four under par for the tournament.

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  21. Lowry bogeys 15; Piercy misses a birdie go at 17, and DJ's lead is back out to 1.5 strokes.

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  22. T37. J. Spieth: +9 (72 holes)
    MC. R. Mcilroy: +8 (36 holes)
    MC. R. Fowler: +11 (36 holes)
    MC. B. Snedeker: +11 (36 holes)

    D. Ramey is a Democrat running for the Kentucky House District 5, representing Calloway and Trigg counties.

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    1. He's going to need a big vote from the Murray State faculty.

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  23. On 239-yard, par-3 No. 16, DJ rockets his drive past and to the left of the hole, near a sprinkler head in the fringe just off the green. His second shot is a high popup that settles in about 10 feet behind the cup. And then Johnson rolls in the putt, pumps a fist three or four times and walks to No. 17 with a stroke or two lead.

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  24. Branden Grace of Pretoria, South Africa, comes back with a birdie at No. 17 to bounce back to 1-under. He's T4 with clubhouse-leader Furyk.

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  25. Lowry lines up a par try on No. 16. I'm awful at judging these distances, even on TV. Maybe 5 feet? He misses left, and Lowry is back to 1-under, also tied with Furyk.

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    1. Down the stretch, Lowry and Dustin Johnson really bailed out the USGA.

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  26. Piercy misses right on a par putt at No. 18, and that means he's also back to 1-under and tied with Furyk!

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  27. Jim Furyk just turned 46 hears old. If he's 90 minutes into his drive home on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I promise you that man has turned off his blasted phone and sunk in to some good music. He's Class of '88, and I'll bet he's a Morrissey guy.

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    1. I'm going with Randy Travis on this one.

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    2. That could very well be. I checked the "Fan Zone" section of JimFuryk.com, and there's no indication of his interests outside golf.

      Jim Furyk does not appear to be on Twitter, but here's a pretty good parody account that imagines Furyk as being especially frugal.

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  28. Oh, never mind. Let old Jim be. DJ just got himself out of a bunker-drive jam on No. 17 for par. He's three up on the flailing field with one to play.

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  29. Leaderboard:

    1. D. Johnson: -4 (71 holes)
    T2. J. Furyk: -1 (72 holes)
    T2. S. Piercy: -1 (72 holes)
    T2. S. Lowry: -1 (70 holes)
    T5. S. Garcia: E (72 holes)
    T5. B. Grace: E (71 holes)

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  30. DJ stands over his 190-yard second shot on No. 18 with a 6-iron. Some kind of electronic beep goes off. Johnson backs off and spouts off one of those sarcastic "Really?!?"s that Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers popularized. Somebody--maybe the Fox TV cameraman--says, "It wasn't me." DJ steps back to his ball and fires it to within about four feet of the cup.

    Joe Buck is talking about DJ's kids. Jack Nicklaus is standing with DJ's wife. Everybody's going nuts.

    Dan Jenkins ‏@danjenkinsgd
    If I'm Dustin, I'm asking for cash instead of a check.
    6:58 PM - 19 Jun 2016

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  31. Rory McIlroy @McIlroyRory
    Take that @usga
    6:58 PM - 19 Jun 2016

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  32. Oh, sorry ... Jack Nicklaus was standing with DJ's fiancée (and Wayne Gretzky's daughter) The HP B-team golf desk apologizes for the error.

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  33. Johnson has, indeed, been penalized.

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    1. It's a dumb rule, because the rule basically says that they will penalize the golfer unless there's compelling evidence not to. Rules like that never work; they lead to too much confusion. They'd be better with a rule that says the golfer gets punished no matter what, or a rule that says that the officials can decide it however they want.

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  34. The final pair of the day is on the 18th green.

    Our new old friend Andrew Landry dunks a par putt of several feet to finish 5-over for the tournament.

    Third-round-leader-by-four-strokes Shane Lowry pars to close, too.

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  35. Final leaderboard:

    1. D. Johnson: -4 (72 holes)
    T2. J. Furyk (YEAH!): -1 (72 holes)
    T2. S. Lowry: -1 (72 holes)
    T2. S. Piercy: -1 (72 holes)

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