Saturday, June 16, 2012


A year after Rory McIlroy humbled the US Open, the game’s toughest major exacted its revenge. Looking confused, if not lost, the Northern Irishman left The Olympic Club, San Francisco following his fourth missed cut in five events.
It was of no consolation to McIlroy that joining him on that all too familiar Friday walk of shame through the gates was Luke Donald, the world No 1. Both finished on 10-over and both were resigned to their fate as half of the field were only just beginning their second rounds. That was a mark of their respective failures.
Obviously, this was not what McIlroy had intended, yet as much as he searched he could not locate the reason. “The thing is, I don’t think I played that badly for the last two days,” he said, after a 73 left him stranded. “I felt like I hit some good shots and the scoreboard doesn’t reflect how I played.”
In truth, McIlroy did not look himself here either in rhythm or in mood. As he trudged around this tight, torrid layout with despair on his face and insecurity in his swing, it was difficult to equate him with the individual who so joyously skipped to an eight-shot win at Congressional and that record 16-under total. More than any other sport, golf can inspire such a transformation and, for the moment, it has him in its grasp.
So much for Memphis having yanked him out of the rut which saw him miss three cuts in succession at Sawgrass, Wentworth and Memorial. McIlroy’s tie for seventh at the St Jude Classic last week filled him with hope as headed for San Francisco. Alas, it was woefully unfounded. He putted off the green at the 12th, and thereafter was mediocrity in spikes. He believed eight-over might squeeze in, but a 15-footer on the eighth, his 18th, dribbled by. He was so distraught he somehow managed to miss the tiddler back. It summed up his major.
“I really thought that last week I had recovered my game,” he said. “But if you’re not really precise out there you are punished.”
“I’ll go home to Northern Ireland and play some links golf,” he said. “I’ll play the Irish Open at Portrush and then the Open at Lytham. This last month and a half has made me realise that you just have to keep working hard.
When Donald conducts the inquest into his latest major let-down he should put first things first. Namely, how opening rounds continue to ruin his chances of adding a title befitting to the world No 1. It is an incredible statistic that the Englishman has not broken 70 on a Thursday since the 2006 USPGA at Medinah. That is 20 majors. Here, he only broke 80 by a shot and although his 72 yesterday was obviously better it was nowhere near enough. That 79 essentially left him nowhere to go, but back to the drawing board. Certainly he should take note of the comments of Graeme McDowell. The 2010 champion gets the US Open. “You want to get a little bit of momentum if you can, because if you let the US Open golf courses beat you up early in the week it will just continue to do that,” he said. “You’ve just got to keep grinding.”
McDowell was last night reminding himself as much, over and over, following three bogeys in his last four holes. The 72 left him on one over, two off the clubhouse lead held by his playing partner, Jim Furyk, the 2003 champion, who shot a 69.
Of course, the Olympic is a torrid examination, which magnifies the slightest glitch. Justin Rose appeared so comfortable in his opening 69, but threw plenty back to the course with a 75 that hauled him back to four over. His great friend, Ian Poulter, is one further back after his own 75, while leading the way for Continental Europe is the big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts on one over after a 69.
Meanwhile, out on the course, Michael Thompson, the overnight leader, somewhat predictably blew his three-shot lead in the space of three holes. And then a remarkable story began to emerge. After 13 holes, Beau Hossler, a 17-year-old amateur, held the outright lead after 11 holes having birdied the 17th, his ninth, and first holes to move to two under At the very least Hossler was showing his opening 70 was no fluke. A high-school student from Orange County, Hossler is coached by Jack Flick, a former swing adviser to a certain Jack Nicklaus. Flick thinks a lot of this teenager and now the world knows why. He evidently learnt so much from last year’s US Open, when he also qualified before shooting 76, 77.
Hossler bogeyed the second, his 12th, and then double-bogeyed the fourth to move back to one over and the hope was he could survive. But regardless, nobody could ever take away from Hossler that he led the US Open – and that Tiger Woods was in his wake. The 14-time major winner was on level par after 11 holes having fought back from three successive bogeys on his front nine.


Par 140 (2x70)
Players from US unless stated
139 David Toms 69 70, Jim Furyk 70 69, Tiger Woods 69 70
141 Michael Thompson 66 75, Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) 723 69, Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland) 69 72, John Petersen 71 70

144 Padraig Harrington (Ireland 74 70, Justin Rose (England) 69 75, Sergio Garcia (Spain) 73 71.
145 Marc Warren (Scotland) 73 72, Ian Poulter (England) 70 75, Lee Westwood (England) 72 73 (T29)
147 Phil Mickelson 76 71 (T51)
148 Matthew Baldwin (England) 74 74, Simon Dyson (England) 74 74.

MISSED THE CUT (148 or better qualified)
149 Martin Laird (Scotland) 77 72, Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa) 77 72, Lee Slattery (England) 79 70, Bubba Watson 78 71.
150 Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) 77 73
151 Luke Donald (England) 79 72, Peter Lawrie (Ireland) 74 77
152 Samuel Osborne (England) 76 76




Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © Colin Farquharson

If you can't find what you are looking for.... please check the Archive List or search this site with Google