Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Woods 'fighting and hanging on' at US Open

Graeme Mc Dowell drives off the 18th tee at Pebble Beach on Tuesday Graeme Mc Dowell is back at the venue where he won the US Open title in 2010
Shannon Reynolds | 14 June, 2019, 10:26

This is the sixth U.S. Open played at Pebble Beach and it has never been easy on the players, with Tiger Woods and Mickelson among those who complained about the condition of the greens the last time the tournament was here, in 2010, when Graeme McDowell won it with a score of even par. He was good off the tee, and he wasn't spraying shots all over the place from the fairway, but his distance control was bad at times and he only hit nine greens in regulation.

"And I'm playing well enough to do it". He missed one from less than 2 feet on the third hole - "I flinched", he explained - and walked away feeling good about his game but not so good about his score. Thursday is just about getting off to a good start.

After a double-bogey at the fifth hole, Woods was able to erase his mistake with back-to-back birdies on his next two holes to get him back into red numbers.

"And I hit a awful shot, but the second shot was good".

He brushed off a dropped shot at his first hole to birdie the 13th and par-three 17th, as well as scrambling for par at 18, as he hit the turn at one under.

Phil Mickelson, who is seeking his first U.S. Open victory in his 28th start to complete the career grand slam, didn't open the way he wanted.

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"It's just fighting it out and grinding it out", Woods said.

"I think we've listened intently", said John Bodenhamer, the senior managing director of championships for the USGA. But still, missing a putt from that short is both shocking and embarassing.

Rose, who won the Farmers Insurance Invitational in February a few hours down the California Coast at Torrey Pines, was asked if he still channels feelings from his 2013 U.S. Open win at Merion. "Hitting the ball in the correct spots, if I happened to not feel comfortable with a number, dump the ball 30, 40 feet, move on about my business".

So the USGA has spent extra time leading up to this year's tournament talking to dozens of players about how best to lay out the course so it can still achieve the goal of being the "toughest test" in golf, while not crossing the line and being unfair to the players. He was tied with Aaron Wise and two others who had big finishes.

Woods also had a one-shot lead when he had his opening 65 in 2000, a lead he stretched to six shots after the second round, 10 shots after the third and 15 shots at the end, a record for major championships.

Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka, who's trying to become the first player in 114 years to win three consecutive U.S. Opens, looked like he was ready to torch the place when he got to 4-under through six holes, but he cooled a bit and finished 2-under, four shots behind Rose.

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