Saturday, June 18, 2016

U.S. Open Round 3 cheat sheet: What happened to Andrew Landry?

Andrew Landry hits from rough on the sixth hole. (AP)OAKMONT, Pa. — Thought Andrew Landry would shrivel up under the U.S. Open pressure and go away, didn't you?

Looked that way for a moment, when the stunning first-round leader went bogey-bogey-double on the front nine of Round 2 Saturday to fall from 4-under to even par. But Landry held tough – real tough. He birdied 13, drained a long birdie putt at 17, then stuck his approach at 18 to three feet for another birdie.

And just like that, the 624th-ranked player in the world worked his way into the final group when Round 3 begins sometime around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Landry (3-under) will be paired with Dustin Johnson (4-under) and Scott Piercy (2-under).

"I feel very comfortable," Landry said after firing a second-round 71. "I feel like this golf course suits me very well. I can just get out there and play my game. I don't have to – I'm not the player that's going to go out and shoot 28 under par. I've never been that guy, so I'm always the guy that's going to kind of just dink it around right there and make pars and throw in a couple birdies."

Who is Gregory Bourdy?

If you're familiar with Gregory Bourdy, then hello Ma and Pa Bourdy. For the uninitiated (ie. most of the rest of us), here's a little bit about the guy who should have been the 36-hole co-leader of the 116th U.S. Open, but after a brutal 18th, will settle for a tie for third:

He's a 34-year-old Frenchman ranked 135th in the world and he once beat Rory McIlroy in a tournament … in 2009.

He's never played in the U.S. Open before, his cumulative score in majors prior to Saturday's 3-under 67 (that should have been a 5-under 65) was plus-72, and he's never finished better than 39th in a major.

And as of the close of Round 2 Saturday, he had 1,880 followers on Twitter.

He's become a solid player on the European Tour, finishing in the top 25 in nine of his last 15 tournaments.

But he caught an unfortunate break on the 18th, when his approach shot rolled off the green and into a divot. He flubbed the ensuing chip and missed a short putt, turning what looked to be a chance at 64 into a 67 after a double bogey.

How are the Big Three looking heading into the final 36 holes?

Happy to be still playing (for now), but a long way back.

Jason Day (+5) needed a 1-under 69 Saturday morning just to extend his time at Oakmont. (The cut is projected to be 6-over.)

Jordan Spieth, still on the course, has the red-ass going as he makes his way around Oakmont in Round 2. He's currently 3-over for the round and 5-over four the tournament.

And Rory McIlroy did what Rory McIlroy has tended to do in majors, muck up his first round (7-over 77), then start to rally. He had himself back to 3-over before three-putting from inside five feet on No. 3. Things have gone the wrong way from there. McIlroy is back to 6-over.

Why does Jason Day still think he has a shot?

Because many think Oakmont is going to start showing its teeth.

Though there were some scores to be had Saturday morning – Louis Oosthuzen shot 65 and Bourdy had 64 in his sights – the greens are starting to harden up under a relentless sun that's pushing temperatures to the mid 80s. That means the already lightning-quick greens will get even quicker, which is why both Day and Adam Scott are predicting even par could win the tournament.

"We'll see fast greens this afternoon, but we're going to see some crazy ones tomorrow," Adam Scott, at even par, said. "I'm sure they're going to put it right to the limit tomorrow."

"I think, if I can get back to even par, that I may have a good chance at giving myself a shot at winning," Day said.

 

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